Military News

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

AMC communications director wins national awards

by Jodi Ames
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


3/10/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do. Every Airman recognizes these tenets, but sometimes there are individuals who truly personify the core values each of us are charged to uphold. Colonel Rob Lyman is one of those Airmen.

On February 4, 2015, Federal Computer Week announced their 2015 Federal 100 Awards. Lyman, Air Mobility Command's director of communications and chief information officer, is among this year's winners.

Each year, FCW recognizes the top 100 leaders from across the federal information technology community who had the greatest impact.

According to FCW, "These individuals have gone above and beyond their daily responsibilities and have made a difference in the way technology has transformed their agency or accelerated their agency's mission."

Lyman credits three key accomplishments within AMC that led to the organization's success and his subsequent nomination for the Federal 100 award.

The first of those accomplishments involved a partnership among organizations from across the Department of Defense and the communications industry. They formulated a get-well plan intended to bolster the reliability and capabilities of communications platforms for senior leaders, including the president, vice president and secretary of defense. This collaboration, combined with the innovative efforts of Lyman and his team, yielded high-level support that directly contributed to the funding and execution of a $254 million plan to enable effective communications for senior leaders.

Air Mobility Command's communications directorate also recently joined with the Defense Information Systems Agency to enable and advance wireless update capabilities for iPads that are frequently used as electronic flight bags for aircrew members. Speaking of the improved capability, Lyman said, "The command reaps a whole lot of benefit from that - from the ability to immediately update publications that are on the device, to also saving in fuel costs by not having to lug a bunch of technical orders around on the aircraft." According to the nomination for the award, this technology will eliminate the need to carry hard-copy publications, which will save the Air Force an estimated $6.5 million each year in fuel and printing costs.

Finally, Lyman attributes his win to AMC's cybersecurity mission and the team of people around him.

"Cybersecurity is a team sport and a tough, tough game. So we've put a lot of focus on that - not just how we defend our networks and the critical data associated with our mobility Air Force command and control systems, but also on the processes we use as a command." He continued, "What are our processes when a cyber incident happens? How do we mature those processes and how do we exercise them? We've done a lot of work in the last year associated with that. We've made great strides," he said,

FCW was not the only organization to recognize Lyman's leadership and expertise in 2014. He was also selected as an honoree for Computerworld's 2015 Premier 100 IT Leaders. The full list was recently featured in a special issue of Computerworld's Digital Magazine. His full profile can also be seen in Computerworld's Class of 2015 Yearbook.

Perhaps Lyman's most remarkable trait is the amount of praise he has for his colleagues and fellow Airmen. When asked about his reaction to being selected as one of FCW's top 100 leaders in the federal IT community, he said he was surprised and humbled.

"It really has very little to do with me and a whole lot to do with the great work this organization does." He added, "Personally, it's very humbling because I'm a representative. Anytime you're a senior leader in any organization, you become a representative for those you lead. Professionally, I think it's a great recognition of the strides this organization's made and it's a great recognition of the energy behind this mission set within AMC. This adds credibility to the great work these folks are doing. They've been tested, they've been measured, and the work they do is outstanding."

Certainly, teamwork has been a hallmark theme throughout Lyman's career. Many experiences have molded his career.

"I've been lifted up by giants - in this assignment and in past assignments. I look at the history that brought me to this job and there are a number of experiences that I rely on to focus on what I think is important," he said.

In that same spirit, he offered some candid advice for Airmen and IT professionals striving to excel in the communications field.

"Bloom where you're planted. This is a team sport and sometimes people focus too much on the glamorous jobs, the glamorous units or the glamorous assignments. There's a lot of blocking and tackling that has to happen in order to make the mission successful; if you're excelling where you're planted, someone will notice the rose and pluck you out for that next opportunity."

Operational focus also plays a huge role in the IT business.

According to Lyman, "Our business is national security. The Air Force's mission is to fly, fight and win. If you focus on the ability to fly, fight and win in whatever your unit is, you'll be better for it."

The 2015 Federal 100 awards will be presented at the 26th annual awards gala on March 26, 2015 in Washington D.C. Profiles for this year's winners will be published later this month in FCW and on the FCW website. Computerworld's newest Premier 100 honorees will be recognized at the AGENDA15 leadership conference and gala on April 1, 2015 in Amelia Island, Florida.

Col. Rob Lyman is a native of Frederick, Maryland. Prior to entering the United States Air Force in 1993, he graduated as a distinguished graduate from the ROTC program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He received a master's degree in organizational management from George Washington University and also earned a graduate certificate in legislative studies from the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. Lyman is an alumnus of the White House Fellows Program, and was recently selected for an assignment as 628th Air Base Wing commander at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.

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