I entered the Air Force in July 1975 after graduating from high school. After completing basic military training, I attended supply technical training at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado.
During my 20 years in supply, I qualified in every aspect of supply operations, with a focus in the management and systems arena. As chief of supply for the Northeast Air Defense Sector, I helped build the nation’s first over-the-horizon backscatter radar unit.
I earned promotions to technical sergeant and master sergeant under the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. I was named the Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for the 24th Air Division in 1988, 7th Air Force in 1990, and the Standard Systems Center’s Directorate of Logistics in 1992. I also earned the Tactical Air Command Professional Provider of the Year Award in 1987 and the Air Force Communications Command Supply Superintendent of the Year Award in 1992.
I retired as command chief master sergeant, a senior enlisted advisor to the commander of the 2d Bomb Wing, in Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Jan. 1, 1997.
The military developed many of the skills needed to be a leader in the professional world. Under great leadership during my military career, I was able to observe many leadership styles that allowed me to develop empathy, professionalism, discipline, tenacity, and good communication skills. I have now been retired from the Air Force for 24 years and am still proud to be going strong. I have been blessed with a lot of luck in my civilian career. My proudest accomplishment is taking a small $24 million asset credit union and growing it to over $65M in assets prior to merging with Peach State Federal Credit Union.
My military experience was a source of inspiration that gave me the drive to successfully grow and manage the small credit union. I believe in strong leadership principles and investing in your staff. If you surround yourself with good, dependable people, they will help you achieve your goals. Don’t take their abilities for granted and demonstrate that you connect with them on all levels; display empathy and understanding; cultivate relationships for success. I often joke that I could go back into the military today and pick right up—that is how passionate I am about my service to our great country and how thankful I am for the skills I acquired during my tenure.