News: Civilian receives Air Force level award
Story by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - A 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron section chief recently earned the Air Force Outstanding Civil Engineer Manager of the Year award for 2013.
Sean Grady, a retired Air Force master sergeant of 20 years and native of Aiea, Hawaii, received the award for going above and beyond to ensure missions were accomplished in a timely manner and people were taken care of.
Grady earned the award as station chief of Fire Station 4 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
“To me, this position was second nature, because I was in a similar position before I retired, so I already knew what it took to be a station chief,” Grady said. “I was in charge of the station that had a rescue unit, advanced life support, ambulance and a fire engine. I had to ensure that daily duties were taken care of while managing personnel on the floor.”
As an additional duty, Grady was also in charge of training new battalion chiefs.
“The battalion chiefs already had the credentials, but they just didn’t know how we did business in those areas,” Grady said. “So my job was to familiarize them with our duties and responsibilities.”
Leaders at the fire station said they have faith in Grady’s capabilities.
“It doesn’t matter what job he is put into or asked to do,” said Senior Master Sgt. Richard Matteson, 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of operations. “He is one of the most knowledgeable and professional guys I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Grady said his main focus was to facilitate teamwork between the firefighters. He studied everyone’s personalities to understand how each individual worked in a team environment.
“When we were together, we became a tight-knit group and it boiled down to us having good communication,” Grady said. “I always believed that when we sat down for a meal and got the camaraderie going, it built that rapport amongst each other. I always made sure we all sat down to eat together.”
At a young age, Grady said he was given a philosophy by his great aunt and uncle: “It is a good gesture to help people in their time of need, because you never know when you will need help yourself.”
Grady holds himself to that advice and brings it to the workplace, saying his job as a supervisor is to empower his subordinates.
“I believe it is my responsibility as a supervisor to be a mentor and a positive role model, to support career progression and empower my people to achieve their personal goals,” he said.
“His work ethic pushed me to do better,” Matteson said. “He is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done; I think it would be hard to find a guy in this position that didn’t want to be more like Mr. Grady.”
Grady now serves as assistant chief of training at Fire Station 1 on JBER. As such, he manages, coordinates and evaluates training for all the members in the fire stations on JBER.
Although Grady is no longer in his manager position at Fire Station 4, he still keeps in close contact with his former team members.
“I still go to Mr. Grady for advice on how to make things better or how to do something here in the shop,” Matteson said.
Grady said he couldn’t have earned the recognition on his own.
“This award isn’t just my award. It’s really our award because we work so hard as a team that I can’t take credit for everything,” Grady said. “To me, a good leader has good followers — and you don’t look good unless your followers look good.”