AEDC team members receive 2018 AFTC Annual Awards

  • Published
  • By Deidre Ortiz

Brig. Gen. Christopher Azzano, the commander of the Air Force Test Center, announced the 2018 Air Force Test Center Annual Award winners Feb. 12, and two receiving this honor are AEDC team members.

In a message sent out to all Air Force Test Center teammates, Azzano said, “I could not be more proud of them (the AFTC winners) and their accomplishments—they have risen to the top of an exceptional field of nominees. Please congratulate the winners when you see them. Also, I extend my personal thanks to our supervisors for taking time out of their busy schedules to nominate our very best.

“Well done, and best of luck to our AFTC winners as they go on to compete at the AFMC-level!”
Elijah Minter, AFTC Civilian Category III winner
Elijah Minter, AEDC Hypersonics Test Investment Portfolio (HyTIP) project director at Arnold Air Force Base, received the 2018 AFTC Annual Award for Civilian Category III.

Of this recognition, Minter, who has worked at Arnold AFB the past 10 years, said he is honored to have been chosen.

“When you think of how much the Air Force Test Center does, it’s very humbling to be recognized at that level,” he said.
Minter stated his past job experience prior to working for the DOD really helped shaped him for the position he has now.

“I started in private industry for many years in project management for a variety of different programs, everything from hotels, hospitals, airport expansions and even chicken processing plants across the country,” he said. “The variety of all these projects taught me how to deal with the challenges of executing complex multi-organizational projects across the country at one time. But what’s so motivating about working in the AFTC is that the results from these projects will make a difference in our kids’ lives – we have to succeed.”

As the HyTIP project director, Minter is responsible for a $350 million portfolio and is executing projects estimated at $91 million in calendar year 2019. Previously, he worked within the High Temperature Laboratory at Arnold and there assisted in plans to triple the arc heater throughput capacity for heat flux simulations.

He has also employed multiple acquisition strategies to deliver $212 million in infrastructure over three years; brokered a $40 million road map for immediate purchase of a long-lead hardware, which enabled early installation for a test facility; and erected a $70 million facility for the Mid-Pressure Arc Heater Hypersonic Thermal Protection capability for a 270-megawatt power source, executing $9 million in 2018.

Additionally, Minter has tackled an AEDC mandate to extend Capital Improvement Division resources and talent across the Complex and has partnered with the 846th Test Squadron on sled lethality. He assisted in the creation of multiple Hypersonic Test and Evaluation Investment Roadmap papers articulating need for and the benefits of unified, national Hypersonic test capabilities.

According to the nomination for Minter’s AEDC Annual Award, the Institute for Defense Analyses has been quoted as saying, “With Minter as HyTIP project director, the Pentagon has no worries regarding success.”

Capt. Adrian Catarius, AFTC Company Grade Officer winner
Capt. Adrian Catarius, flight commander for Detachment 1, 586th Flight Test Squadron based at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, received the 2018 AFTC Annual Award for Company Grade Officer. His job entails working between a customer test organization and the White Sands Test Center to handle scheduling, resource coordination and ensure a smooth test execution.

Prior to his current position, Catarius worked at the Munitions Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, as a computer engineer.

“Within two years, I was selected to attend Air Force Institute of Technology to get my master’s degree,” he said. “After graduating, I was assigned to the 746th Test Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base as a flight test engineer and element leader. After about two years at the 746th TS, I was moved within the Test Group down here to Detachment 1 as the flight commander.”

During his time as flight commander for Detachment 1 of the 586th Flight Test Squadron, Catarius has filled the detachment’s Director of Operations gap for three months and orchestrated daily operations worth $9.3 million.
He has assisted in the seamless transition between the Detachment Commander shift.

Catarius has also taken charge of a $10.9 million test program at WSMR, which answered Chief of Staff of the Air Force goals. He has led 31 members and 16 missions and ensured tests were conducted safely.

Throughout this, he has displayed innovation in job performance by executing a new type of testing and co-authored a best practices brief for senior leaders. He has assisted with the enhancement of Air Force base defense systems, validating enhanced tactics and added new Air Force force protection tactics, techniques and procedures.

Catarius mentioned that “it’s extremely gratifying” to have received the AFTC Annual Award recognizing his work on the above accomplishments.

“To know that my direct leadership all the way up through the leaders at AEDC and AFTC appreciate the work that is being done here,” he said. “Sometimes it does feel like our 11-person detachment working on an Army Post and located 1,300 miles from AEDC [headquarters at Arnold] is easily forgotten. But at the same time, it’s a little awkward to suddenly have all this attention.

“There are certainly people I worked with over the past year that I think sacrificed more, worked harder and who are more deserving of this recognition than I am, so I’d like to say thank you to everyone who helped me get here and helped make these programs successful.”

The following is a listing of all the 2018 AFTC Annual Award winners:

Airman – Senior Airman Mutia M. Graham, 412 TW, Edwards AFB, CA
Non-Commissioned Officer – TSgt Alexander J. Rodriguez, 96 TW, Eglin AFB, FL
Senior Non-Commissioned Officer – SMSgt Justin A. Gholson, 96 TW, Eglin AFB, FL
1st Sergeant – Senior Master Sgt. Zachary C. Pate, 96 TW, Eglin AFB, FL
Company Grade Officer – Capt. Adrian M. Catarius, AEDC (704 TG), Holloman AFB, NM
Field Grade Officer – Maj. Jennifer A. Sayers, 96 TW, Eglin AFB, FL
Civilian Category I – Kyle J. Chisum, 96 TW, Eglin AFB, FL
Civilian Category II – Lorena P. Rodriguez, 412 TW, Edwards AFB, CA
Civilian Category III – Elijah S. Minter, AEDC, Arnold AFB, TN
Individual Mobilization Augmentee Company Grade Officer – Capt. Richardson Honore, 412 TW, Edwards AFB, CA
Individual Mobilization Augmentee Field Grade Officer – Maj. Louis D. Miller, 412 TW, Edwards AFB, CA