413th FTG leaders discuss strategy, process improvement during conference

  • Published
  • By Jamal Sutter
  • 413th Flight Test Group Public Affairs

Members of 413th Flight Test Group came together for a commanders and senior leaders conference Oct. 7-10 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Following the results of last year’s strategic alignment event, the four-day conference provided a forum for the group’s leaders from Robins and six geographically separated units to interact and discuss plans to develop better work center practices and carry on the pursuit of continuous process improvement.

“Everything that we do here has purpose, meaning and value for our leaders,” said Col. Christopher Zidek, 413th FTG commander. “Getting everyone together in one room and talking about what’s working and what’s not is very important, so everybody feels that they have a voice at the table.”

The conference kicked off with a senior leader course, which was hosted and planned by the 413th FTG and open to eligible Air Force Reserve Command commanders and superintendents. The course provided tools and guidance to develop more effective leaders in today’s Air Force. Simultaneously, enlisted Reserve Citizen Airmen took part in an enlisted development workshop, which was designed to strengthen and foster well-rounded senior non-commissioned officers.

In addition to leadership-driven presentations, the group held a strategic plan review. During the review, 413th FTG leaders acknowledged recent successes but also identified areas that still need work.

“We already knew we were strategically aligned with our mission and vision,” said Yvonne Rutherford, 413th FTG process manager. “We achieved most of our stated goals and objectives, so we needed to figure out what we’ve already completed and what else we need to strive for.”

With much of the unit operating out of various locations throughout the country, one focus area for the 413th FTG is communication. That’s why the group’s commanders support staff personnel gathered during the conference for their own, dedicated series of meeting and briefings.

The Airmen spent time discussing and training on several CSS-related programs to ensure consistency in ways of conducting business. With uniform practices in place, CSS personnel hopes to better serve their customers across the board, said Master Sgt. Fatimah Shareef, 413th FTG NCO in charge of CSS.

This was the first time in nearly 10 years that CSS personnel from all of the unit’s GSUs met in a formal capacity.

“It was very well received,” said Khristyna Luna, 413th FTG management support specialist. “For me, I’ve only been here for about a year, and I’ve only met 30 percent of the CSS face-to-face. So it’s nice to know who we’re working with over the phone and via e-mail.”

Guest speakers during the conference included Col. Daniel Manning, former deputy director of regional affairs at the Pentagon, and Brig. Gen. Matthew Burger, AFRC director of air, space and information operations, who both spoke about leadership and strategic planning.

“So your strategic alignment and your efforts, hopefully, are nested with Air Force Reserve Command’s [efforts],” Burger said. “And I’ll tell you … my personal experience is—leadership at the unit level is fundamental and foundational to making our command successful.”

After a busy week and acknowledging key members who helped make the event possible, the conference ended with a team-building golf event, where individuals got a chance to decompress and enjoy time together.

The 413th FTG is a multi-role Air Force Reserve organization that provides oversight of several distinct missions which include aircraft depot-level flight test, developmental and operational test and evaluation, cyber test, combat flight inspection, aeromedical staging and force support functions.