This is part 1 of a four-part series involving the four members of the Team Hill community who won the Ogden ALC 2012 AFA Outstanding Air Force Civilian Employees of the Year award.
The windstorm on Dec. 1 reaped $500,000 in damage. But the damage could have been worse if Chris Shipman didn't see it coming.
Shipman, a meteorological technician in the 75th Operational Support Squadron, saw the storm four days out and recognized its powerful features. The next day, he issued a weather advisory.
The day of the storm, the flight schedule was canceled because of the forecast for the soon-to-be destructive winds. A fighter jet's crosswind capacity tops out at 25 knots, Shipman said, and the crosswinds for the day reached more than double that capacity. Without Shipman's conservative forecast of 50 knots, flights would have proceeded and would have caused more trouble than good for Hill's pilots.
For his efforts, Shipman was nominated by his supervisor, Capt. William Danyluk, for the OO-ALC 2012 AFA Outstanding Air Force Civilian of the Year award in the category of program specialist.
The award, which was announced last week, is judged on several different levels. Once a supervisor picks the candidate and fills out the proper forms, the nomination proceeds to the wing commander. The wing commander then selects from a pool within the wing and sends it up to the command over the entire base, in this case, the Ogden ALC. Shipman was then chosen from all the other selections from all other wings on base.
"Since there are so many people working on base, he had a lot of competition at that level," said Danyluk.
Since Shipman has won the award at the Ogden ALC level, he is automatically qualified to win the award at the major command level. His achievements will be put up against every other Air Force Materiel Command base award winners to claim the title of AFMC civilian of the year, and if won there, will travel up to Air Force level to compete against the other major commands.
Shipman's day-to-day duties include briefing pilots for weather and issuing warnings for the base. He takes daily observations for take-offs and landings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Mississippi State and is currently pursuing a masters degree. Shipman also served about eight years in the Air Force before becoming an Air Force civilian.
In addition to his response to the Dec. 1 windstorm, Shipman created a multi-agency collaboration network with Salt Lake National Weather Service and the Dugway Weather Flight.
This wasn't Shipman's first rodeo, however. The program specialist was named an exceptional performer during the AFMC inspection after filing a key leadership role of prepping the unit for the bi-annual inspection and earning an "Outstanding" score. He revised 11 standard operating procedures and the base weather support document. The inspector noted that the weather flight was the best he's seen in 29 years.
There are four awards categories given out, which were civilian wage employee of the year, civilian program specialist, civilian program manager and civilian senior program manager. Shipman received his award for his position as a program specialist.