COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The 14th Civil Engineer Squadron was notified earlier this month that they were the recipients of the Air Force’s 2017 Outstanding Civil Engineer Small Unit Category for their accomplishments throughout the year.
Under 14th CES Commander, Lt. Col. David Jokinen, the squadron preformed to the highest levels with balancing numerous projects from the wing to the Air Force level while providing innovative ways to be more effective to support the pilot training mission.
“I was very happy for the team, it’s a team effort,” Jokinen said. “I was excited for all the hard work everybody did throughout the year, and I was excited to see everyone’s accomplishments recognized at the highest level.”
There are a lot of things that can happen throughout a year and to consistently perform at such a high level is not a small task, he noted, but it’s a bunch of small successes being brought together which in the end won the squadron this award.
“One thing I’ve really challenged the folks to do is to look at the continuing process of improvement,” Jokinen said. “I think another factor is you have to look at what’s important to the Air Force and your functional community, such as the Next Gen information technology system and how we track work, we weathered through that and got it working.”
Taking time to complete the objectives the Air Force and major commands give wings, squadrons and units directly is a contributing factor to overall success.
“My job was to get all the flight chiefs to write all of their drafts for their areas and I took all of those, strengthened and lengthened those, then once the commander approved all of those, I went through them to make the squadron package,” said Master Sgt. Jason Layfield, 14th CES Superintendent at the time of the awards package creation. “It was a team effort for sure, all the flight chiefs were involved and we had subject matter experts to look for the real defining details and make it strong.”
No individual or single project stood out much more compared to another on the awards package, Layfield and Jokinen said, the small tasks, focusing on recognizing individuals, keeping high morale and the overall drive of the units made the award really what it was.
“Innovation and teamwork were the two big things that lead to our success as not only a unit but as a squadron,” said 1st Lt. Scott Guerin, 14th CES Chief of Projects Execution. “One of the things we did within our flights to help our success [was] set attainable goals. When people have a goal, it’s a lot easier to aim all your efforts toward that goal, and we’ve done it much better this year than in years past.”
Goals the squadron attained included getting the most awarded projects in recent years, switching over to a brand new system to help track and quantify work orders within the squadron, setting the groundwork for a runway project, leading the base’s gym renovations, aided in hundreds of emergencies, and units within the 14th CES were recognized for excellence at various levels.
Over 70 bullets depicted many of the achievements the squadron had throughout the year, showing the range of operations the squadron dealt with in a given year.
“Attitude is contagious,” Jokinen said. “I truly believe that. If you come out with a great attitude and people enjoy coming into work that will breed success because now people want to come to work and execute the mission. I think that’s the key.”