Growing up in Harrisburg, South Dakota, Staff Sgt. Taylor Eide worked for his father at a local hardware shop, and admired his management style of always looking out for his employees.
Every year when bonuses rolled around, his father would ensure those who didn’t receive some extra money, yet were equally deserving, were compensated for their hard work by splitting his annual check with his employees.
“He puts all of his individuals first,” Eide said, a 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron quality assurance inspector. “It’s a value I’ve always tried to live up to. The more people like how you treat them, the harder they will work for you.” Eide is a result of his father’s philosophy.
An aircraft hydraulic systems craftsman, Eide was recognized as the 2019 Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez technician category award recipient for demonstrating the highest degree of sustained job knowledge, performance and efficiency.
“I was very surprised, honestly,” Eide said. “I couldn’t have done it without the people on my flight who trained me along the way and guided me in the right direction. Master Sgt. (Waylon) McCullough and Tech Sgt. (Micah) Harrington did an excellent job in helping me capture what I had done in that timeframe. I consider both of them outstanding role models and mentors.”
In addition, Eide acknowledged Master Sgt. Andrew Gravett and Master Sgt. Mark Silva as two senior leaders who always go out of their way to further develop Airmen, a leadership style he hopes to carry-on when he becomes a senior non-commissioned officer.
However, the staff sergeant hadn’t always wanted to make a career of the Air Force. When he arrived at Ramstein, his second duty location, his goal was to go back to school after his enlistment, until his section non-commissioned officer in charge, Tech. Sgt. Alex Torelli, sat him down to chat.
Torelli recognized Eide was one of the hardest workers within the squadron and wanted to work with him to submit an awards package. So, Torelli took Eide under his wing.
It was the start of a turning point. Eide went on to earn two quarterly awards and a performer of the month. In addition, he earned the title of Distinguished Graduate in Airman Leadership School in May, 2019.
“From day one, Eide has shown an extreme desire to succeed, an infectious positive attitude and a constant strive to better himself,” Harrington said. “Within his career field, he is one of the only engine-run qualified personnel in the squadron. Additionally, Eide is well versed on aircraft fuselage jacking and landing gear operational checkouts which are some of the most complex and rarely seen procedures completed at Ramstein.”
By stepping out of his comfort zone to pursue advanced qualifications, Eide’s dedication paid off. He hopes other Airmen do the same.
“Go outside of your career field and learn what crew chiefs, electricians or hydraulics do,” Eide said, “At the end of the day, that’s going to help you understand the aircraft as a whole system, not just your little piece of the pie.”
Eide continues to pursue his goals, striving to have a similar impact on Airmen as his father does with his employees, and his 721 AMXS mentors have had on him.
“Don’t fear failure,” Eide said. “Supervisors should allow their Airman to fail, because when people fail, there is an opportunity for growth. If it wasn’t for my leadership encouraging us to learn and get qualified outside of our scope of responsibility, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”