HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – On Aug. 31, the Ogden Air Logistics Complex will once again be at the crossroads of new leadership when the 24-month command of Brig. Gen. Steven J. Bleymaier will come to an end.
The Complex will bid farewell to Bleymaier and his amazing family as they move to Scott AFB, Illinois, and he takes over as director of logistics, engineering and force protection, Headquarters Air Mobility Command.
During his time as commander, many important, life changing and far reaching items of importance have transpired within the Complex and his family.
During a recent interview with Bleymaier, he discussed some of those events.
Q. What do you feel is the biggest Complex accomplishment during your time as commander?
A. Our team has accomplished so much the past two years, from helping ensure F-35 IOC, to performing programmed depot maintenance on ICBMs for the first time ever, to delivering 483 aircraft to the warfighter in a single year, to ap plying ‘Art of the Possible’ and improving processes across the board. One accomplishment that stands out, significantly, is regaining our AS9100/9110 certification. In December 2015, a new third party auditor came in and pointed out several areas where we weren’t following our management system – methods we’d followed for years that no previous auditor had ever raised. It took a monumental effort by the entire team and a full year of dedication and commitment by all 8,500 OO-ALC team members to get into conformance. Any time you come up against “the way we’ve always done it,” the remedy is a culture change and process change and that’s hard for any organization and takes time. Some process changes involved stakeholders outside our control where we had to figure out a way to have get them on board with the change; it was huge! AS9100/9110 certification is important because it represents the trust our customers have in us and our commitment to the highest quality and reliability, the integrity of our management system and processes, and our ability to ensure conformance to standards, which then drives us to performance in achieving our strategic objectives and producing a high-end quality, conforming product for the warfighter.
Though this certification might be invisible or completely foreign to those outside the ALC, to the inside workforce and our customers it represents a very rigorous set of requirements that tie directly to the ‘Art of the Possible’ and the processes the Complex uses to produce quality products in a safe and timely manner, ultimately for the warfighter.
All of this hard work was verified when the third party auditor returned in April 2017 and gave the ALC a glowing report and recommended us for recertification, which was preceded and confirmed by the Air Force Material Command Inspector General’s very successful inspection of the Complex in March 2017. I’m extremely proud of the entire team for these phenomenal accomplishments – they were hard earned and well deserved.
Q. Is there anything that you would like to have seen happen during your command that unfortunately didn’t?
A.Major repair and overhaul is a very complex and dynamic business and there will always be challenges and room for improvement. One area we’ve improved but still have more to go is in our yield. Yield is a hard subject to explain to those unfamiliar with a working capital fund business. Yield is the number of direct labor hours a technician works to produce a product (actually turning the wrench, not training or admin time; this is called earned hours) divided by the number of hours paid that week, all multiplied by the total hours available for the year (2,080 hours). The yield will determine how much a customer pays the ALC for us to produce a product for them. Shortly after I arrived in September 2015, we found ourselves undermanned to meet some of our critical workloads for the fiscal year. Since then we’ve been on a long journey of hiring, training and bringing on employees to meet the workload, and correcting our indirect to direct labor factors. New team members in training naturally don’t produce as much as experienced ones – it’s similar to having a surge of 3-levels in an active unit, so yield is lower. Ensuring we’re postured and resourced correctly across our entire enterprise to accomplish our missions is a constant challenge in a working capital fund environment. You strive to be good stewards and ensure the best level of productivity of our workforce, and this is measured by yield, or hours worked in direct labor. This past year, our entire team focused to improve our yield, and we’ve made steady gains in every group. We still have more to go to achieve the yield we should have as a major repair overhaul operation to provide cost-effective sustainment for the warfighter. I have no doubt the team will get there in the near future.
Q. How do you rate our workforce?
A. I love them and I feel they are the greatest workforce on earth. They’ve embraced the ‘Art of the Possible’ and they believe in it and see the results daily. They take care of each other as wingmen and exhibit the qualities of professional Airmen. They are truly a team and a family. And, they recognize that our team isn’t just within the boundaries of the Complex. Everyone outside the ALC that we work with and are connected to on Hill AFB and at our geographically separated units are our teammates. We’re all on the same team because we couldn’t get our mission done without the support of other Department of Defense units and industry partners and our community partners and local and state representatives. They all work together towards enabling us to accomplish our mission to provide readiness to the warfighter. Our workforce does a great job being good teammates.
Q. You have a great family; what are their thoughts about moving to Scott AFB?
A. My family is very sad to leave; they all have great friends on and off base and incredible memories of all aspects of living here. The good news is they will have connections here the rest of their lives from the friends they made. The biggest life-changing event for our family was July 5, 2017, when my British wife of 24 years became a United States citizen right here in Utah! She decided it was time and if she was going to do it she wanted to do it in Utah surrounded by the wonderful people we’ve been blessed to know. We’re confident that just like the other 14 or so moves in the Air Force, we’ll meet great people again and make new friends; however, right now there are tears on a daily basis. This assignment was certainly among the top for great experiences and connections.
Q. Any final remarks to Team Hill?
A. Thank you for allowing my family to serve alongside this great team. We look forward to watching you continue to succeed. I’ll close with my familiar phrase — Keep Charging!