#IAMAFCE: Meet Alison Smith

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  • AFCEC Public Affairs

(Editor's Note: Engineers Week is this month and we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight member of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center team doing great things for the Air Force and civil engineering community.)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Meet Alison Smith, basing and beddowns program manager, AFIMSC Detachment 3/Combat Engineer Battalion, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

What are your main responsibilities?
To work with installations to identify, scope and program infrastructure requirements for AFSOC beddowns and basing actions. Our motto is Your Success is Our Mission, and I take this very seriously in all aspects of my day and work.  

What is the best thing about your job? 
I get to travel to installations and get a feel for what their needs are, to meet people doing the hard work, and to help them by working as a liaison between them, AFSOC and AFIMSC. I also feel honored that I get to hear and listen to general themes and challenges that installations face; this experience will help me understand how to help more as I move up in my career. 

As a child, what job did you want to have when you grew up? 
I was definitely going to be an astronaut. But I get motion sick on wooden roller coasters, so keeping on the ground is probably more prudent!

What made you pursue engineering as a career?
I was always good in math and science, but I also excelled at language arts, history and I loved it all. I kept being called the engineer, or the civil (when I had a very brief stint in aerospace engineering). I didn’t have any engineers in the family, but I figured I would listen to those labeling me and figure out what it was all about!  My current job gives me a chance to apply all of my interests and skills for the Air Force. 

What is your favorite part about being an Air Force CE? 
Being in an organization that literally builds the Air Force and keeps it centered and moving toward its goals. My parents were both active duty, so I grew up with it, but not in it. The pride I feel for my contributions and meeting great people along the way make me feel closer to it.

Why is your job important to the Air Force mission? 
If we don’t help Airmen get right-sized facilities on time, they cannot do their missions effectively. We are instrumental in making sure they can.

What advice do you have for someone new to the engineering field?  
Relationships in engineering are just as important as in any field. Communicating and asking for help when you need it are signs of strength, not weakness; it took me a long time (and a lot of researching the wrong things!) to learn that. And keep learning, keep getting an education — you’re never really done!

What motivates and inspires you the most?
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things have always piqued my interest. Some become famous, but others just do the right thing when no one is watching.

If there was one engineering marvel or achievement that you could have been a part of, what would that have been and why? 
It would have been cool to sit in Mission Control for the early moon missions, although I don’t know how well I would have handled the stress of engineering on the fly!

Is there anything you would like to add?  
There is nothing too large that we cannot change if we work together.