Leadership Perspectives: 50th Civil Engineer Squadron

Lt. Col. Andrew DeRosa, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander

Lt. Col. Andrew DeRosa, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Lt. Col. Andrew DeRosa is the commander of the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron, he is a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. The 50th CES is his second command, which he will relinquish in a few weeks for a new command with the 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer at Hurlburt Field, Florida. He took some time out of his day to share some of his leadership perspectives.

1. What was your motivation for joining the Air Force and where did you start your career?

My uncle was in the Air Force for 30 years and retired as a chief master sergeant. He was the first person I saw in uniform in our family pictures and I thought that was something I would like to look into more as I got older. I managed to earn an ROTC scholarship for college and originally thought I would only do four to five years and then get out but I enjoyed the military and realized it fit my personality well.

2. Who is a leader that stands out to you? Why do they stand out to you?

Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were always two leaders who stood out to me. Their bearing and poise commanded respect and capability. They were two leaders that stood out to me as people who “walked the walk, and talked the talk” and didn’t compromise their principles.

3. What are your hobbies, past times or skills you might have and what draws you to them?

My hobbies include collecting old U.S. gold and silver coinage as well as paper money, working on my DeLorean and, enjoying the outdoors when able to with the family. I’m very detail-oriented whether it be mechanically/electrically with my DeLorean or where there’s a lot of information to assimilate and be cognizant of such as when collecting old U.S. coinage. I also collect gems and minerals.

4. How do you handle stress or challenges?

I usually meet challenges and stress head-on. It doesn’t always go my way, but I can say I did my best with the situation that presented itself. I try to ensure I’m keeping a balance in the areas of family, profession, religion and physical fitness. I always put a little bit of distance and try to remain objective when things get really stressful. I also tend to work out more and go for more runs.

5. How do you prepare junior Airmen for leadership roles?

I try to prepare our junior Airmen for leadership by empowering them to make a decision at their level, as long as it’s appropriate for their rank and grade, and become comfortable making those decisions and not second guessing themselves. If you’re comfortable making the small decisions you’ll have a framework to make the larger more difficult ones with, and you won’t shy away from them.

6. What’s some advice that you’ve received that’s stuck with you?

Own up to your mistakes, don’t be afraid to make them and take ownership and responsibility for everything in your wheelhouse. Don’t make a decision while emotional about it. Decisions need to be made void of emotion and objectively.

7. Is there anything else you would like to add about leadership?

Remain true to yourself. There are a lot of different styles out there and a million books to read on leadership. You should be an individual and not look to be a clone of someone else’s leadership style. Hone your weakness before you work on your strengths. If you’re not being challenged every day in something you’re not growing as an individual or a leader.