Association of Graduates
Drew Miller Class of 1980

I am a Research Staff Member with the Institute for Defense Analyses, retired USAFR Col, last assignment at USAFA as IMA to Commandant of Cadets. Served in Regular AF, Guard, and Reserve in WWIII, Bosnia and Iraq. I am a Certified Management Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, with business management and corporate board experience, 12 years as Univ of Nebraska Regent, college teaching as an adjunct professor, County Commissioner -- good background to help AOG improve services and cost effectiveness. My wife and I are moving back to Colorado Springs to be closer to the mountains and USAFA.

Candidacy Statement

As a businessman and reserve officer I’ve helped many grads make transition to civilian employment. AOG can be a great asset for us in finding employment opportunities. We need to carefully evaluate the cost/benefit of AOG activities for both members and USAFA. We can play a vital role helping USAFA assess how our graduates are performing and solicit feedback to facilitate continuous improvement as well as helping USAFA do things that government restrictions preclude. As a board member I’d like to work on helping USAFA eliminate honor scandals that harm the Academy and denigrate the value of our degree.

Why did you decide to run for the AOG Board of Directors?

To help the AOG offer more services to members and support to the Air Force Academy. As a recent mobilization augmentee to the Commandant of Cadets I am up to date on Academy issues and well positioned to help the AOG better serve the Academy. As a businessman with experience running a cost effective organization and helping grads make the transition to civilian employment I believe I can help AOG continue improving member services.

What skills, knowledge, & experience do you have that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board?

  • 12 years experience on University of Nebraska Board of Regents
  • Active duty, Guard and Reserve experience in Air Force
  • Recent assignment to USAFA as IMA to Commandant of Cadets
  • Recent service in Iraq
  • Certified Management Accountant and Certified Financial Planner with business management and corporate board experience
  • President, Heartland Management Consulting Group
  • Research Staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses

What involvement with the AOG or the Academy have you had that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board of Directors?

My last USAF Reserve assignment was as the Mobilization Augmentee to the Commandant of Cadets. Many graduates may not understand the changes in the honor system and the impact of far more widespread cheating and lying in our society, and the new technologies/means of cheating that are so prevalent. I continue to do adjunct teaching at Creighton University in Nebraska, which has been useful in staying up to date on trends in education and changing values. I have also been involved in AOG local chapter meetings, presenting on topics of interests to members and assisting grads in job searches. I use AOG on line discussions and tools.

How would you suggest the AOG improve its relevance to the Graduate Community as a whole and to individual Graduates?

“Zoomienation” and “inCircle” groups are great tools to promote networking, advertise job opportunities, and support issues discussions. With people living and working longer, and changing not just jobs but career fields far more frequently, the AOG should continue to improve and provide the very best career networking capability possible. We must constantly improve these services by adding capability, testing, surveying members to see what is best value-added. We also need to offer members more opportunities to find a niche to get involved with USAFA—especially for grads outside CO. Cadet cynicism and their insatiable desire to connect with the operational Air Force and life after graduation is strong. AOG could do a better job of connecting grads to USAFA and cadets to:

  • provide more feedback on ways to improve the USAFA experience
  • help the expanding Center for Character and Leadership Development’s research, using grads as well as cadets in their “leadership laboratory”
  • link up cadets with grads in career fields/areas of interests to help us coach, mentor and motivate
  • leverage grads as mentors to help persuade cadets that the honor code and high standards of conduct they learn will yield very valuable dividends to them, and is valuable to grads who would like to maintain the Academy’s reputation.

Under the recently adopted Carver governance model, the primary role of the Board is to provide the strategic direction for the organization, while leaving operational administration to the CEO. How do you define strategic direction? What experience have you had in strategic thinking and policy making?

With 12 years service as a University Regent, Corporate Board experience, military and defense consulting work on strategic planning, experience managing the strategic planning process at ConAgra Inc (Fortune 100 food company), and service in Iraq at Multi-National Force HQ Strategy, Plans and Assessments, I have broad experience in strategic planning and setting strategic direction for an organization. A board member’s primary responsibility is to the organization’s members, not its staff. Indeed, Board members serve as “watchdogs” as well as setting the strategic direction. While board members can only act in their capacity as members of the board, not as individuals, a policy of “hands off” operations is not just unwise, it is irresponsible. I will be an active board member if elected, concerning myself with AOG operational effectiveness and serving as a watchdog as well as setting strategic direction. Even if the AOG had 100% perfect, incorruptible staff, the Board should never subscribe to a policy or culture of “hands off”, leaving the CEO free to run operations as he or she chooses, without close oversight. The example of Penn State illustrates the importance of an active board that is not a rubber stamp for the administration. My loyalty will be to AOG members and USAFA, not the AOG CEO and staff. You can work well with staff without pledging allegiance to the Carver model or CEO.

How much of your time can you devote to meetings, preparation for Board of Directors meetings, emails/correspondence, committee work, and interacting with members?

As much time as necessary.

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