All Airmen should practice pride, professionalism

Pride and professionalism

Tech. Sgt. Josh Cobb, 527th Space Aggressor Squadron adversary training flight chief, wipes down a desk to demonstrate one thing Airmen can do to embody pride and professionalism in their workplace. Schriever professional development organizations encourage all Airmen to do their part to take care of our home away from home like Cobb is doing here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Wes Wright)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do, are drilled into Airmen from day one.

While a concept all Airmen are familiar with, one of Schriever’s professional development organizations president’s feels it’s a good idea to occasionally take one of the core values, in this case integrity first, and apply it to cleanliness of the base and work spaces.

“It’s important to have integrity, pride and professionalism in all we do,” said Master Sgt. Brady Warren, Air Force Sergeant's Association chapter 1182 president. “Perception is reality. So, what somebody sees is what they believe. If they come by your squadron and there's trash everywhere, that's what they're going to think your work ethic is. Make sure your appearance shows a reflection of who you are.”

Warren added cleanliness and doing the right thing are individual Airmen responsibilities.

“It starts at the Airman level, and we are all Airmen,” Warren said. “It's our Air Force. We shouldn't have to be told what to do and how to do it. You know what's right and wrong. When you see a problem like trash on the ground, instead of coming up with complaints, it's a lot quicker and faster to just pick it up and be done with it.”

While an individual responsibility, Warren stressed the importance of non-commissioned officers and supervisors setting the example.

“Airmen are always watching,” Warren said. “We NCOs need to always lead by example. If you see a piece of paper or trash, you don't want to walk by that because that looks foul on you. Take the time; stop for a second. It's not much time out of your day to pick up trash and throw it away.”

One person on the front lines of building maintenance and cleanliness is Stephen Cooper, 50th Contracting Squadron, quality assurance manager and 50th Space Wing headquarters facility manager.

“I taught facility management and worked as a facility manager during my Air Force career, so it's something I am very familiar with and passionate about,” Cooper said. “It allows me to get around and meet a lot of folks in our facility on a daily basis, all the while looking for things that I may be able to correct in our facility.”

Cooper praised the general cleanliness of his building’s atrium, which serves as a hub for Airmanship 300 graduations, information booths and other events. However, he also identified areas where application of pride and professionalism can improve building upkeep across all of Schriever.

“A common area of concern is the restroom areas in our facilities,” Cooper said. “As money has been diverted to higher priority mission requirements over the years, we have had to de-scope some of our custodial services, unfortunately. With custodial services being performed, in an outstanding manner three times per week in most facilities, my opinion is that folks need to do whatever they can in order to maintain cleanliness and help project a sense of pride and professionalism in their facilities, work centers and the base in general.”

“Owning your space” is a concept both Warren and Cooper emphasized.

“It's important to take pride in anything you own,” Warren said. “You want to take responsibility for things that are under your control. Don’t be that person that adds to or walks by an overflowing trashcan. Own the things that are yours and make sure it looks good.”

Warren said attention to detail and cleanliness can tie directly into unit funding.

“We only have so much funding,” Warren said. “We've got a lot of multi-billion dollar resources that the government pays for. Budgets are limited to what we can get and you want to take care of what you have. There's an old saying, 'take care of what you got or you're going to lose it.’ If we aren't taking care of what we are given, funding will go down and we'll get less and less resources to affect the mission.”

Cooper identified some best practices units can adopt to help keep their and the wing’s positive image intact.

“My experience is that folks should perform good housekeeping practices in their work centers by taking out their trash on a daily basis,” Cooper said. “This not only reduces the chance of rodents coming into your facility, it should be a common courtesy to keep food and debris odors out of the work centers. I tell people to just help with whatever they can, working as a team to help keep our home away from home as clean and professional looking as possible.”