86th CES engineer named AF’s top manager

by Senior Airman Timothy Moore
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

After  winning two Air Force-level awards in 2013, the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron is no stranger to being recognized as the best,  so when another one of its members was named the best manager in the Air Force, it probably came as no surprise to the leadership.

Eric Rushing, 86th CES chief of engineering, was named the Air Force Harry P. Rietman Award (Senior Civilian Manager) winner for his work throughout 2014.

“I was excited and surprised when I heard about the award,” Rushing said. “I’m competing with people from other large bases. There are a lot of high-quality senior civilian managers out there.”

The annual award honors its namesake, who served as the associate director of engineering and services from 1975 to 1985 and is known as the father of the Civil Engineering Career Program. It recognizes the superior job performance of Air Force civilian civil engineer personnel.

Though the award distinguishes Rushing’s accomplishments for the year, he said the recognition really acknowledges the work of his team.

From the time a project enters the programming and planning portions of the 86th CES engineer flight to the actual project management of the construction, Rushing credits the successful completion of any project to the dedication of his team.

“A lot of the information that goes into the package for the Rietman is a culmination of everything that occurs in the engineering flight,” Rushing said.

Under his guidance, Rushing’s team planned, worked and managed more than 350 projects, with the engineering flight securing funding for 48 of those projects within the last 30 days of fiscal year 2014.

“That can’t be done by one person,” he said. “It has to be done by a team.”

Though Rushing is hesitant to take credit himself, his leadership recognizes the great work he has done for the KMC in the last year and since his arrival in

“I’m sure you’ve noticed the quantity of construction and major works in the KMC these recent years,” said Lt. Col. Paul Silas, 86th CES commander. “This doesn’t just happen by accident. Eric is gifted with an amazing ability to understand and keep track of all the rules, German law, U.S. law, funding rules, contracting rules and, ultimately, laws of physics that all work together to create a safe, usable facility with the user’s specific needs included.”

In 2014, Rushing and his team executed approximately 40 percent of U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s project budget, working alongside the 700th Contracting Squadron and 86th Comptroller Squadron to acquire an additional $10 million for infrastructure and quality of life improvements for the KMC.

“You have to lead a team in unison to pull off numbers like that,” Silas said.

The numbers and projects are even more impressive when considering civilian industry engineers work two or three mid-size projects at a time; however, Rushing manages engineers and construction managers that worked approximately nine projects per person in 2014, Silas said.

“So when I saw Eric Rushing named as the 2014 Air Force civil engineer senior civilian manager of the year, was I surprised?” Silas said. “No. Now, he gets to join his fellow 86th CES winners as the Air Force’s best.”