Senior Executive Service promotions announced
By Kandis West, Tinker Air Force Base Public Affairs
/ Published August 03, 2007
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE --
Sue Lumpkins and Michele Rachie have joined the ranks of the growing number of women being promoted into Senior Executive Service.
"The last four SES promotions in July were women. In the last three or four years, we have gotten more," said Ms. Lumpkins, 327th Aircraft Sustainment Wing deputy director.
Ms. Rachie, 827th Aircraft Sustainment Group deputy director, said she has noticed more women in key SES positions because the Air Force is fair and considers skill not gender.
"The Air Force promotes who is best qualified," Ms. Rachie said.
SES members are the civilian equivalent to military generals said Rhonda Lugo, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center chief of Protocol.
Members of the SES serve in the key positions just below the top presidential appointees and are the major link between the appointees and the federal work force, according to U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Entering federal service years ago, both started at the general service five or GS-5 pay grade.
"When I started, I thought it would be great just to make it to a GS-12 or 13," Ms. Rachie said.
Ms. Lumpkins taught junior high history and English for six years in San Antonio, Texas before she was prompted by an advertisement at a local courthouse to take an exam to become a civil servant.
"I needed a bigger challenge, something different. History and English just doesn't change all that often," Ms. Lumpkins said.
In 1980, she accepted a job as a C-5 recoverable item manager. She took a pay cut to start her career as a GS-5, she said.
The most challenging aspect of civil service is the same reason Ms. Lumpkins loves her job.
"Everything changes, everything is different. While keeping up with the changes is challenging, I don't take them as a threat. In logistics, we keep changing, evolving, reinventing ourselves and making it better," Ms. Lumpkins said.
"What I didn't like about teaching is what I love about logistics," she said.
Ms. Lumpkins said she had never imagined she would become an SES. When she started 27 years ago, the five air logistic centers didn't have SESs, but only had two GS-16's at each center, she recalls.
In her new position as Logistics Readiness deputy director at the Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon, she will be involved in all aspects and stages of war readiness and sustainment.
Ms. Lumpkins is no stranger to logistics as she currently organizes, directs and controls the total life cycle management of the B-52 and KC-135 at Tinker.
Ms. Rachie took a different path to reach the upper echelon of civil service. She was selected to an intern program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. right out of college. She said she applied for the internship because she knew she wanted to do something to support her country.
"I really get a lot of gratification from knowing that I am supporting our warfighters," Ms. Rachie said.
She began her career as a supply analyst in 1988. She fell in love with her job and hoped she could continue ensuring long-term war readiness for the warfighters.
Almost 20 years later, she has become an SES and will make her debut at the Air Force headquarters in Washington as the chief of Weapons Systems Suststainment Division.
"I look forward to improving processes and being a senior leader in the Air Force and supporting the warfighter," Ms. Rachie said.
Despite looking forward to their promotions, both ladies said they will miss the people and the exposure to the aircraft at Tinker.
"Everyday we roll out an airplane, we buy a better part, we re-engineer something that keeps airplanes on the ramp longer and that means we are supporting the war," Ms. Lumpkins said.
Their promotion ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10 at the Tinker Club. The promotions are effective Aug. 19.