WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Bittersweet. For Air Force Materiel Command Executive Director Patricia M. Young, this one word characterizes how she feels as she nears retirement after nearly 37 years of civilian service.
“I will miss the mission and most of all I will miss the people,” Young said. “I am ready to spend more time at home and less email, and it will be difficult to leave the mission and the people. Is the time; I think I did everything I could for the Air Force and I’m ready to go back and have more time for family and friends.”
When Young took over as CEO in 2016, it was very much a homecoming for the leader, who started in the Air Force Logistics Command Distribution Directorate as a Palace Acquire intern in 1985. She had just finished five years as a consultant. she and a faculty member at Wright State University, Dayton, and she wanted to further her career, but not in academia.
A colleague in the Office of Career Planning and Placement at Wright State alerted her to internships at Wright-Patterson AFB, and she decided to explore her options.
“I applied and interviewed for logistics, finance and procurement, and I really loved the interview with the director of the logistics program,” said Young. “So I went with that one, and it’s been fun and an adventure ever since.”
As an intern, Young was exposed to all aspects of functional logistics mastery, giving her a strong foundation on which to build the rest of her career. That base, along with the in-depth training and networks created with people from the Air Force and Department of Defense, provided a structure for success that endured throughout her career.
“That foundation and that structure is a drive for success. It’s very helpful and successful,” Young said. “You meet a lot of people, and it was also very interesting to see the people you grew up with reach higher levels of rank and see the challenges they faced throughout their careers. You have a bond of shared experiences and mutual learning.”
Although Young began his career as an Air Force civilian and will also retire as such, his civilian service includes time spent in the joint world, including time with the U.S. Transportation Command, the Army, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Each position provided exposure to different aspects of logistics, transportation, and supply pipelines, with experiential learning along the way.
“Each position had unique mission roles, responsibilities and challenges that were so different. For example, my last assignment in the joint world was as Deputy Commander of the Army Surface Military Deployment and Distribution Command, a component of USTRANSCOM. It was very different from my Air Force experience because they oversee organic and commercial rail, truck, ocean freight, air freight, and supply chains to have the full complement of the global logistics pipeline. It was a completely different world,” he said.
While each position had its own unique challenges, it was the relocation of SDDC’s headquarters and operations center from Alexandria and Ft. Eustis, Virginia, to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, that turned out to be one of the most remarkable. In a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), typically less than 10% of the civilian workforce will move. However, like the AFMC, the SDDC had a large civilian workforce to relocate.
“We put together a strategy, we had an aggressive communication plan and an advertising campaign to convince our workforce to move from the East Coast to the heart of Central America. We got over 25% of our workforce to relocate and displaced the remaining people with jobs in the area. It was a huge effort and it took all of our leaders to commit to making this a success for our workforce,” said Young.
A recurring theme throughout Young’s career centers on the relationships and friendships he developed both with his peers and with subordinates, supervisors, and network leaders. These individuals helped provide a greater understanding of the Air Force’s core values of integrity, service to self, and excellence in action, as well as helped her understand the importance of ownership of one’s actions and career advancement.
“You have all these resources and people to tap into, but it’s still your career. It is your responsibility and it will be what you do. I am a firm believer that when my day is done, I have to look at myself and count my day. What did I do well and what did I not do so well? It’s looking at yourself and understanding what you can improve and do better,” Young said.
For Young, who grew up on military bases as a child, later married a service member and also spent her working career as a civil servant, retirement will be a big transition to civilian life.
However, she looks to the future and remains grateful for the opportunity to have served the Air Force and the nation through civilian service.
“The Air Force cannot have a successful mission without a civilian workforce, and it takes military aviators and civilian aviators to make this happen. It’s a holistic relationship,” Young said. “In my heart, I am retiring as an aviator. I may be a retired civil servant, but in my mind, I’m a retired airman with a capital ‘A’. I believe that words matter, and it takes all of us to succeed in the mission.”
|Date to be held:||05.24.2022|
|Publication date:||05.24.2022 10:24|
|Location:||WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH, USA|
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