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Innovation and determination;AETC award winner

Ramiro Solis, the KC-46 Pegasus programs manager assigned to the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, stands next to a KC-46 engine, April 20, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

Ramiro Solis, the KC-46 Pegasus programs manager assigned to the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, stands next to a KC-46 engine, April 20, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Solis earned the Air Education and Training Command Category One 2017 Civilian Supervisor of the Year award, representing everything he accomplished for the entire year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jackson Haddon)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- A member of the mighty 97th earned the Air Education and Training Command Category One 2017 Civilian Supervisor of the Year award.

Ramiro Solis, the KC-46 Pegasus Flight Trainer programs manager assigned to the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, achieved the award as a result of laying the ground work for the maintenance programs for the KC-46 at Altus AFB.

“It’s an individual award, but it was a team effort from everybody in the office,” said Solis. “Building a program from scratch is difficult. I appreciate this opportunity to excel and receive recognition for our hard work as a flight and as a base.”

One of the key factors that helped Solis in creating the maintenance programs for the KC-46 and earning his award was being innovative.

“In today’s world, its do more with less and we constantly have to think of ways to do things more efficiently,” said Solis. “That’s part of the main job in our flight, figuring out how we can easily accomplish the mission while being smart, safe and time effective. It usually starts out with a problem. You wouldn’t just complain to leadership. You would identify the problem, figure out the root cause of the deficiency and present a solution. Innovation helps any workplace and its workers.”

The person best knowing about Solis’ efforts is his supervisor Donnie Obreiter, the KC-46 flight chief assigned to the 97th AMXS.

“There are so many good things to say about Solis,” said Obreiter. “His work ethic, his character, his attitude, his pride in his job - he cares about what he does and he is great at his job, which is why he is one of the best co-workers I’ve had in my entire career. I don’t know what we would do without him.”

Members of the 97th Maintenance Group are often prior military or have had some connection to the base. Solis, being native to Altus, joined the base back in May 2000, as part of the Grow Your Own Mechanic program. The program is a partnership between Altus AFB and the local technical center to train civilians to work as maintainers on military aircraft.

“I’ve always loved fixing things and seeing the aircraft while growing up,” said Solis. “I combine the two because not everyone can say that they are an aircraft mechanic. Through the Grow Your Own Mechanic program, some on-the-job training, mentorship from co-workers and years of dedication, I was able to get through the ranks to where I am today. I’m grateful because it’s more than a job, it’s a career and a lifestyle.”

Always searching to be challenged, Solis was eager for this position knowing both the dedication and challenges that awaited him. Obreiter said that this position was a great use of his talents.

“Everybody who works in our office had to volunteer to get in their position because it’s not easy building these programs from the ground up,” said Obreiter. “Nothing is established, so the only tools we are able to work with is guidance from leadership, past experiences and our determination. I am confident with our team’s abilities and I always have been.”

The combined lifelong love for his job and skill set aided Solis in the award nomination and win.

“The main key to my job is that to see the bigger picture,” said Solis. “When people have a purpose it boosts their morale and makes them want to do their job. It is like a puzzle, you have to see where you fit in to make the bigger picture happen. Being where I fit is what makes me strive for excellence.”

Striving for excellence, being innovative in the workplace and having great determination are all key factors that assisted Solis stand out as a person and showcase the base’s capabilities.

“I’m thankful that his work has been recognized the way it has,” said Obreiter “He is a great poster child for this flight and a great representation of the base’s capabilities. He makes us proud every day.”
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