F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
The new 90th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Brian Low, shares three tips for success and offers a challenge.
Low explains his Airmen motivate him and he has his dream job; however, he didn’t get here overnight. He stressed knowing your mission and how it serves the greater good, having a positive attitude and serving alongside your Airmen are keys to success.
TIP I: Know your mission: How do you serve the greater good?
Whether you are an engineer, logistics, personnel, maintenance or another technician do not lose sight of the big picture, Low said. It is easy to forget why we serve day to day.
“I have nine enlisted career fields that do very distinct and challenging jobs,” Low said. “We can believe our mission is to only fix and maintain the base; however, we can’t lose sight that we enable the forces in the missile fields to be ready 24/7, 365 days a year.”
He emphasized knowing why you serve the greater good helps you understand your daily tasks and gives you purpose to conquer the daily grind.
Whether you are a plumber fixing water lines or a firefighter responding to emergencies, “know your mission and how you serve the big picture,” Low said.
TIP II: Positive attitude
“If you have a bad attitude, you will have a bad experience,” Low said.
A positive attitude assisted Low in succeeding wherever he was assigned.
“In the Air Force you don’t always get the assignment you want,” Low said. “I’ve had assignments where I wanted to go and others I didn’t. Wherever you go, make the most of the situation you are in and have a positive attitude.”
Low shared an example of when he was selected for his first command to be an Air Officer Commanding (AOC) at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“I’m not an academy grad, I was commissioned through the [Reserve Officer Training Corps],” Low said. “I didn’t know the USAFA-isms. It was a foreign world to me. When I got it the assignment to be an AOC, I had no idea what it entailed and had to ask one of my fellow officers, who was an USAFA graduate, what it is. He just started laughing after I asked. That makes for an intimidating start to an assignment.”
Despite the initial shock, Low kept a positive attitude. He was responsible for 115 cadets and their military training to prepare them to be officers.
“You never know what you are going to get; but if you go into it with a good attitude, it will end up being a very rewarding experience,” Low said.
TIP III: Don’t ask people to do things you are not willing to do yourself
Civil engineers often get tasked with the jobs nobody else wants to do, according to Low. However, when asking people to do difficult tasks, it goes a long way if followers know the leader is willing to do it too.
Low recalls his time as a captain, he was working base preparation for a distinguished visitor visit. His flight was asked to clean-up mesquite seed pods that fell around the trees.
“They wanted us to pick up all of the pods off the gravel,” Low said. “There is no way to rake it up, suck it up or any other way get rid of them except by picking them up by hand which meant crawling around on your hands and knees. It was a hard thing to ask my flight to do, but we went out there and did it. I spent the afternoon crawling around on my hands and knees picking up pods but it made it easier because I wasn’t just telling my Airmen to do it, I was willing to do it as well.
FINAL CHALLENGE: Understand your purpose.
“When it is cold and the wind is blowing in your face and you are doing something that sucks, take time to know why you are doing it,” Low said. “Understanding how what you are doing contributes to the 90th Missile Wing, the Air Force and our nation will put it all in perspective.”
“As support personnel, we can lose sight of it. Take time to see how you fit into the mission of this wing and how you directly contribute to its mission. When you serve keep a positive attitude, do your best, make it better than you found it and good things will happen, no matter what you are doing or what your situation is.”
For leaders, “get away from the desk and the email that ties you down,” Low said. “Meetings and emails can drain the life out of you. As leaders, we need to be with our Airmen. Take every opportunity you can to be with your folks.”