General John E. Hyten, Air Force Space Command, Commander, Peterson AFB, Colorado shared the impressive Space Command Story, challenges and approaches to meeting the demands in space and cyber. The event was co-sponsored by Air Force Association, National Defense Industry Association and the Rocky Mountain AFCEA chapter leading to a full house at today’s luncheon at the Antler’s Hilton.
In the first few moments of his speech General Hyten set the tone, he wanted an open dialogue with industry and he delivered just that. He shared insight into preparations for his recent interview with 60 Minutes. Like any military commander he engaged the media encounter strategically, honestly, and with a healthy respect for his opponents. He credited his Public Affairs officer Col. John Dorrian with the approach: tell the beautiful, impressive and true story of Space Command.
And it IS impressive what Space Command does under Gen. Hyten every day. He is responsible for organizing, equipping, training and maintaining mission-ready space and cyberspace forces and capabilities for North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Strategic Command and other combatant commands around the world. General Hyten oversees Air Force network operations; manages a global network of satellite command and control, communications, missile warning and space launch facilities; and is responsible for space system development and acquisition. The command comprises approximately 38,000 space and cyberspace professionals assigned to 134 locations worldwide. General Hyten also directs and coordinates the activities of the headquarters staff.
Gen. Hyten went on to share it was still a joy to put on his uniform and go into work with the great people at space command, working on the missions he gets to work on. He mentioned so many in the room had served and would like a chance to go back and serve again. After 34 years of service Gen. Hyten feels lucky and one thing was very clear…he’s grateful.
The General shared the challenges of expediting requirements definition, the drive to obtain a new balance towards experienced operators. His focus was to prepare for times of greater challenge, ensure resilience and is continually injecting efficiency in training his airman.
After the speech Gen. Hyten opened the floor for questions. Gayle White asked the last question of the day: what did the General want to accomplish in the next five years? The General paused and said he should have asked for an EASY question instead of last question. Then he said his thoughts could go to “playing golf somewhere with his wife Laura”, but then added seriously he would be satisfied to prepare airmen for the space and cyberspace challenges ahead.
The question and answer stuck with me all day today because this year is Rim Tech’s 5 year anniversary. Only a few years ago, Rim Technologies was just a twinkle in my eye as I sat at my kitchen table writing a very long to do list. I was a single mom. I was a pilot with broken wings. I needed to find balance to manage the gravity, lift, drag and thrust to get this little small business off the ground. The Rim Technologies motto was born, “Engineering technical services to new horizons.” I knew as a pilot I had to find balance. I had to find a horizon line. Through a mission of service and developing a vision of Rim Technologies as a “Not-only-for-profit” company I grew new wings. I’m starting to see Rim Technologies impact for our customers, the community and our STEM pipeline of candidates. I have to ask myself everyday “What can I do?” and then “What will I do?” Today, the to-do list isn’t any shorter, but some things are beautifully, magically coming together in the adventure that is the Rim Technologies story.
My days are busy and different then those first days. I spent this week helping on the Satellite Control Network Contract. I met with our healthcare customers, and potential teammates, oversaw an upgrade to our online development environment, explored multiple technology innovations with my team, and moved the last of my office to our new HUB Zone offices with our new identity management strategic partner company E&M Technologies, on Northpark Drive. I helped 12 people find a job, 2 people find funding for their degree programs and met with three people who are just starting their own companies. Five years ago I dared to answer a hard question about what would be next in the story of my life and thankfully I found courage to start looking for an answer. Looking forward to the next five years I’m leaning hard on the lessons of this five years: collaboration, listening, honesty, balance, focus, failure, love, discipline, delivery, and dreams.
Tonight pause with me and ask yourself the hard question. “What will you accomplish in this next five years?” After a 34 year career General Hyten isn’t slowing down, he’s embracing the story of Space Command and today he gave a model for us all to have an answer to the 5 year question. In his answer you can see where his heart is. He’s keeping a sense of humor, he’s cherishing the moments with those he loves, he’s serving his nation and building his team for the challenges ahead—a wise answer for any American and I think a wise model for the next five years at Rim Technologies. Let’s all make this next five years our best. High five Hyten–here’s to the next five years.