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193rd SOW recruiting and retention team captures 4 of 6 state awards

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
The 193rd Special Operations Wing recruiting and retention team had a winning Fiscal Year 2015, capturing four out of the six Pennsylvania state recruiting awards. Honors earned include the State Patriot Team of the Year, Recruiting Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Production Recruiter and Retainer of the Year, and Rookie Production Recruiter and Retainer of the Year.

"Historically, they've been an outstanding team, and I'm not at all surprised that they have won four of six of the awards," said Lt. Col. Susan Garrett, deputy commander, 193rd Mission Support Group. "I still wouldn't be surprised if next year they won six out of the six awards - that's how good they are."

State Patriot Team Award

The eight-member recruiting and retention team had a year full of accolades to include achieving more than 200 enlistments, the highest achieved in five years, which contributed to 51 percent of the state goal; a revamped officer process, which led to 31 new officer appointments; boosted retention by advising 105 members on Post 911 GI Bill benefits with 56 transferred benefits with incurred service commitment; and much more.

"I have never seen a group of people who work so well together. They feed off of each other and they carry each other as a team," said Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Powell, 193rd Force Support Squadron superintendent. "No one person is in it by themselves and they work really hard to make sure everyone is successful."

Along with being a cohesive team with stellar job performance, the recruiting and retention team had significant self-improvement and community involvement during FY15 through volunteer work, Community College of the Air Force credits, and recruiting training.

Recruiting Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year

Master Sgt. Martina Crouse, recruiting NCOIC, earned the honor of Recruiting Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

"We really want to thank unit members for their high level of engagement," said Crouse. "In FY15, the recruiting team launched a unit referral program to say thank you for all that unit members do to support recruiting efforts. Unit member referrals accounted for 58 accessions into the 193rd SOW, which was a 13 percent increase from FY14."

Along with the launch of the unit referral program, Crouse reworked the Right Start Program, which set the standard for wings nationwide.

"She looks at a program critically and determines where she can make any improvements to it and I think that's really helped the team because it has streamlined processes for them, which allows them to go out and make that 'sale' instead of having to spend time wading through paperwork that might not necessarily help them recruit members," said Powell.

Crouse also mentored and trained the two other award-winning recruiting and retention Airmen.

"With Martina as a leader, that's what's helping those other awards come through," said Garrett. "She has been working above and beyond for quite some time and I would never doubt where she's going to take the team in the future."

Production Recruiter and Retainer of the Year

Tech. Sgt. Meghan Hoover, production recruiter and retainer, received the Production Recruiter and Retainer of the Year award for FY15. Hoover was instrumental in ensuring 84 percent of new recruits filled career fields within the wing that were in critical need. She also pioneered a recruitment partnership with the Army National Guard at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, contributing to the state's joint force mission, and developed marketing and advertising strategies for the wing's unique mission sets. Hoover also helped in the coordination of the state inaugural Special Olympics Super Plunge event, too.

Rookie Production Recruiter and Retainer of the Year

Joining the recruiting team in 2014, Tech. Sgt. Kalie Borkowski, production recruiter and retainer, had a landmark year, earning her the title of Rookie Production Recruiter and Retainer of the Year. For the fiscal year, she enlisted 37 new members into the wing, making her the second highest producer on the recruiting team. Borkowski also showcased the 193rd SOW to more than 250 students through local high school outreach events.

Another community-involved Airman, Borkowski volunteered time to the Hershey Food Bank, assisting more than 50 underprivileged families in receiving groceries. She also donated books, toys and non-perishable items to several local organizations.

Three out of four of the recruiting and retention team awards packages will now move forward to compete at the national level, with the announcement of winners slated for April.