A heavy-equipment maintainer from the 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron was recognized as the heavy equipment Technician of the Year by a national heavy-equipment organization.
Paul Smith received the Association of Equipment Management Professionals’ award at an event last month in Charlotte, North Carolina, for how effectively he diagnoses and repairs snow equipment that keeps the airfield clear and trains Airmen to diagnose and repair equipment, keeping airfield operations running effectively.
The AEMP, founded in 1982, is a national organization which provides networking and education for heavy-equipment operators. The award celebrates the best heavy equipment technicians, elevates their careers, and brings awareness to the technician shortage across the industry, said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bryan Yerger, 673d LRS heavy equipment maintenance noncommissioned officer in charge.
When Smith was notified of this award, he said it genuinely surprised and humbled him. For him, the award highlights the importance of leaders who recognize the value of investing in employees, equipping workers with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to execute their jobs well, and keeping their unit at the forefront of innovation and technology.
“This recognition is significant to me,” said Smith. “I have been in the automotive and diesel industry professionally for 20 years, so I enjoy sharing knowledge with others as well as taking on complex issues.”
“Paul is a champion,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. George Okorodudu, 673d LRS commander. “From the first day he joined us, he has been invaluable in training our young Airmen and sustaining our snow fleet, ensuring JBER’s ability to project joint forces. We are proud of his accomplishment and thankful for his contributions to our team.”
Apart from duty, Smith is also assisting a local high school in setting up a shop to help get teens interested in being heavy equipment mechanics.
“He cares about the work we do and does his best to teach the Airmen in the shop how to do the job the correct way,” Yerger said. “He is a very good teacher and will help anyone struggling with a problem they cannot fix.”
Safety is an important aspect of their job, added Smith.
“If our people are injured or equipment is broken, it becomes more difficult to carry out our mission successfully,” Smith said.
JBER’s heavy snowfall allows the LRS team to identify opportunities to improve equipment effectiveness.
“With the number of hours our equipment sees and the harsh environment it is operated in, we tend to find issues with snow removal equipment before the manufacturer recognizes an issue,” Smith said.
For those hoping to be competitive for the award, there are five criteria to meet – experience, education, safety, innovation and technology, and image and professional presence.
“Communication with each other is key; sharing information and experiences, both good and bad, helps others to be successful,” Smith said.
|JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, US