OO-ALC commander begins immersion

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- When Brig. Gen. Kathleen Close received command of the Ogden Air Logistics Center June 19, the majority of base personnel were wondering what direction she would take with Hill Air Force Base.

Within a week of her appointment though, General Close began her immersion process, a method where she takes time to meet the people and learn all about the organizations. Since she started this process, many people on base have taken advantage of the chance to meet her.

"There are a lot of moving parts on Hill Air Force Base," said General Close. "From that perspective, I have to depend on the leaders that we have selected in the various wings to help guide and manage the installation. I look at it as an inclusive team approach to managing the center and the installation. I also like to get out and about. I am doing that for the next two weeks with the immersion."

During the immersion process General Close will not only meet with leaders in the wings, but she will have face time with personnel from all levels around the base.

For some, receiving a new duty location is a grueling process, but for others it is the beginning of something new and exciting. Hill AFB is just that for General Close.

"I am excited to learn about the center, the air base wing and the associate units," said the general. "The great thing is meeting new people, but what has impressed me the most is the enthusiasm that people have for their jobs, the love they have for this base and the desire they have to do the very best they can. I am very honored to have the opportunity to command again. I'm really looking forward to helping 'Team Hill' as I go through my immersions and understanding the challenges they face."

A lot like varying physical traits, every leader has different styles of management. Examples of General Close's inclusive leadership style can already be apparent in the work she's started.

"I would probably say I look at it in five steps," said General Close. "First you have to learn about your organizations, and I think it's very important to learn the different things that they do. Secondly, it's important to lay out the objectives that you want for that organization. That will allow me to figure out what is missing. Then that rolls into determining if your people have the right tools that they need to do their jobs. Lastly, the most important thing is to let your people do their jobs, and get out of the way. It's incredible when you let people do their jobs what they can achieve."

General Close also said she was thankful of her predecessor's accomplishments while in command.

"A thanks goes to Lt. Gen. Kevin Sullivan for putting the center on the map and for creating a foundation as well as garnering community support and building relationships."

Every new duty location poses new challenges for any member of the Air Force, and General Close has developed a plan to tackle the challenges that face her here.

"I am still learning about the organizations," said General Close, "and, that is my first priority. When I learn them, we are going to find there are some challenges we need to be working. As I'm doing all this, I'm going to promote the concept of 'Team Hill' and the 'wingman concept.' Everyone needs a wingman whether you are active duty, Reserve, civilian or contractor. And lastly, one of those things we have to do is make this center as efficient and effective as possible. We are going to promote and build upon process improvements."

To carry out these plans to overcome challenges that she faces, General Close keeps in mind some of the words that she has taken to heart over the years.

"I have a few mottos I like to follow," General Close said. "Don't avoid the challenge, embrace it and figure out how to work it out as a team. I truly believe the glass is half full. Also, I look for the best in people. I believe that every single person has value. You have to figure out how to match people and their talents. Sometimes people have mismatched skills, and we may discount a person because they aren't performing to our expectations, but everyone has value."

General Close not only follows her mottos, but she cites three individuals as her heroes who have had an impact on her life.

"Amelia Earhart is definitely a hero of mine," said General Close. "I was so impressed at her ability to overcome diversity.

Raised in a military family, General Close's father was another of her heroes.

"My dad loved to fly. His love of the Air Force and love of history has sparked a lot in me. I used to dread when we changed duty stations traveling across the country and when we would stop at Civil War battlefields, or in St. Louis to go see the arch or the Grand Canyon. Now I really appreciate his desire to show us America and to share with us his passion for flying and aviation.

Her father, however, was not her only family hero.

"My sister has also overcome incredible health battles and lost a husband. Despite cancer and losing a husband, she has maintained her faith and sees everything in a positive light, and most importantly, she embraces life."

General Close is in touch with the relations that Hill AFB and the surrounding communities have and appreciates their warm welcome.

"I would like to thank Hill AFB, the community and both local and state leaders for the warm reception and hospitality that has been extended to my husband and myself. We are both very excited to be here. We are looking forward to meeting the people and getting out into the community to explore the great things that makes Utah special. I have a lot to learn and to see and I hope the time that I'm here as commander will enable me to affect change and take the center and installation to new heights."