McGinnis named 2018 Air Force Emergency Manager of the Year

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Beaux Hebert
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Master Sgt. Kevin McGinnis, 14th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management Flight superintendent, was recently awarded the 2018 Air Force Emergency Manager of the Year in the military category.


On Feb. 5, McGinnis had just finished up his work for the day and was on his way out the door when Lt. Col. Peter Joo, 14th CES commander, delivered the news.


“When I found out, I was really excited because it’s an Air Force level award so it’s a pretty big deal,” McGinnis said. “I was especially happy to win this award at Columbus.”


McGinnis and his team are responsible for the base’s emergency planning for natural disasters; chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear attacks; certain aircraft mishaps; and other incidents. They are responsible for protecting Airmen, their families and the base’s multi-million dollars’ worth of equipment and infrastructure. They also ensure all personnel are fully trained to minimize casualties and damage in the event of a disaster or attack.


McGinnis’ flight commander, 2nd Lt. Riley Quinlan, recognized his hard work throughout the year and nominated him for the award.


“McGinnis is a very focused and driven individual,” Quinlan said. “He is a very high energy and motivational guy and, in my opinion, if he did not win the award, I’d say the system is flawed.”


McGinnis said some of his achievements that he felt contributed the most included his deployment to Syria in 2017. He was assigned to a two-man team who helped various units, including explosive ordnance disposal teams, safely navigate and work in their respected areas of operations.


McGinnis also had major involvement in the 2018 Wings Over Columbus Air and Space Show. He and his team were responsible for the safety of over 21,000 attendees if a disaster, natural or man-made, was to happen. Although it wasn’t utilized during the air show, his team was in charge of directing the emergency operations center.


McGinnis said the final catalyst on his package was the T-38C Talon mishap in May of 2018. He and his team directed emergency personnel to rescue the pilots, find their ejection seats and help contain the incident.


“We had a really ‘good’ year,” McGinnis said. “When your job involves disasters, it’s never really good to have a busy year, but it’s good for the experience.”


McGinnis is no stranger to winning awards. He won the same award twice at the major command level; the first in the Air Force Special Operations Command in 2014 and the second in Air Education and Training Command in 2017.


McGinnis, like all enlisted Airmen, started his career at Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland AFB, Texas, in November 2001. He said after high school, he floated around and didn’t really have any aspirations in life. Then, his mom told him she needed him to drive to a medical appointment. Little did he know, she was taking him to the Air Force recruiter.


From there, he went to basic and technical training and was assigned to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, where he spent his first five years as an emergency manager. While at Barksdale, he said he had some unique opportunities dealing with hurricanes and even responded to the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.


Twelve years and numerous duty stations later, McGinnis plans on serving for a few more years to see his children graduate high school then he will retire.


McGinnis said the key to having a successful career is to not focus on the awards, instead focus on doing your job to the best of your ability and the awards then acknowledgement will come.


“Do the right things for the right reasons,” McGinnis said. “If you genuinely try and put forth effort, it will pay off.”