Classroom honors dean’s commitment to leadership development

Ohlemacher lab focuses on Civil Engineer officers

The Civil Engineer School at the Air Force Institute of Technology dedicated a classroom in honor of the school’s dean at a ceremony July 24. The Col. Donald R. Ohlemacher Civil Engineer Officer Professional Development Laboratory is located on AFIT’s campus in Bldg. 643.

Guest speakers included Brig. Gen. John Allen, commander, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, and retired Maj. Gen. Timothy Green, former Air Force director of Civil Engineers.

“The goal of dedicating this room is not just to say thanks but to inspire the deans, faculty, staff and students to use Col. Ohlemacher as an example of leadership,” said Dr. Todd Stewart, director and chancellor, Air Force Institute of Technology.

As dean, Ohlemacher revolutionized the civil engineer career field’s approach to officer development. He initiated the school’s focus to competency-based learning, working with the career field to establish and develop a specific set of competencies required for all civil engineer officers and then tied the school’s curricula directly to supporting those competencies.

Allen shared that he greatly appreciated Ohlemacher’s leadership of the Civil Engineer School.

“We have to be able to translate the academic theory to operational relevance. I can’t think of an officer that I have known in my career that is better positioned and does that better than Don Ohlemacher,” Allen said.

Green said there were myriad reasons to honor Ohlemacher, but the main reason was his character.

“At its core, it is about Don’s character; how he has lived his life and what he has done for us over the course of his career,” Green said.

As a final note to his career, Ohlemacher established the Civil Engineer School as the “place of homecoming” for all civil engineers worldwide to gather and discuss issues impacting civil engineer officer development and the civil engineer enterprise.

“It was a formative opportunity to come here and lead this organization because I find it very fascinating. So, over to you guys now to carry it on,” Ohlemacher said.

In written comments during the live streamed ceremony, viewers thanked Ohlemacher for his mentorship, time, compassion and dedication to the mission. Ed Oshiba, SES, director of Resource Integration, deputy chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection at Headquarters U.S. Air Force wrote, “Thanks for embodying and living the words of General Creech: ‘The first duty of leaders is to build more leaders.’ You’ve done that throughout your career, to include inspiring me to lead. Your fingerprints are embedded on Airmen, and will continue to be embedded on Airmen for generations to come. Thanks for inspiring us all to be better critical thinkers. You challenged all of us to raise the bar.”

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