Engineer recognized as Air Force best

Capt. Jonathan Friedman
USAFE News Service

Thomas Hom is vital to airlift capabilities, although he has never actually piloted an aircraft in his life. His crucial contribution isn’t in flying – rather, it’s in engineering, and for this the Air Force recognized him as the 2004 Outstanding Engineer of the Year for his contributions to the Rhein-Main Transition Program.

RMTP is a U.S. Air Forces in Europe program to transition the strategic airlift capability of Rhein-Main Air Base to Ramstein and Spangdahlem air bases by the end of 2005.

As a RMTP project manager, Mr. Hom has been recognized for replicating the airlift abilities at Rhein-Main to Ramstein. This task may seem straightforward, but is actually much more complex.

“This has been a very complicated undertaking, involving a lot of people from various disciples and responsibilities,” said Mr. Hom. “As a project manager, I had to pull all these people together – from the users, and the Air Force, to the German designers and managers. It was challenging to get it all done before our deadline and within our budget.”

The Air Force released the names of the 2004 winners in late June 2005. Mr. Hom, who was recognized in the senior civilian category, won the prestige for effectively managing eight RMTP construction projects valued at more than $87 million. He led the team that successfully prepared the Ramstein runway for the task of Rhein-Main airfield operations.

“I was thrilled, but really surprised that I was nominated in the first place,” he said. “I’m just one guy out of many who are working this RMTP program – it’s been a huge effort on the American and German side.”

According to Mr. Hom’s supervisor, Chuck Williams, RMTP project manager branch chief, this type of accomplishment is monumental and the first time in Air Force history that a base’s taxiway has been transformed into a new 3,600-meter primary runway with fighter Barrier Arresting Kits and a Category III Instrument Landing System.

“Mr. Hom’s ability to juggle the thousands of details that brought this project together was phenomenal,” said Mr. Williams. “But, what’s often overlooked in these nominations are the countless hours of planning, environmental and logistics considerations that needed to be accomplished – all before the first piece of dirt could be turned on the new runway.”