ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --
This release is part of a series of profiles highlighting the contributions of our military and Department of Defense personnel at Arnold Air Force Base.
According to Capt. Jonathon Dias, being a test manager for the Aeropropulsion Combined Test Force at Arnold Air Force Base means wearing “a couple different hats.”
“As test manager, I’m the government interface between the test customer and AEDC,” he said. “I’m responsible for ensuring the overall planning and execution of the test gets done as seamlessly as possible. I track the cost, schedule and performance of the program and orchestrate communication between the various stakeholders of the program, which typically include the Test Operations and Sustainment contractor, the government and the customer.”
In addition to this role, Dias serves as the Aeropropulsion Assistant Director of Operations, or ADO.
“As ADO I handle the overall schedule development and resource de-confliction for the entire CTF,” he said. “The process of appropriately managing and allocating AEDC resources through the Test Integration Group is fairly involved, pulling in parties from resource areas and mission areas all across the base.”
Dias gradually gained these responsibilities, starting three years ago as a test engineer at Arnold before stepping into the test manager position.
He enjoys what he does, stating that with responsibility comes opportunities for learning and experience.
“The personal ownership, pride and sense of responsibility that comes with managing a high-dollar, high-visibility defense test program is incredibly empowering, especially if you understand how your program fits in the overall National Defense Strategy,” he said. “I’m only a tiny cog in the wheel, but it’s an important wheel.
“Beyond that, I’ve gotten to see and touch the latest and greatest in aero propulsion technology. Where else can you do that?”
Dias added that performing the AEDC mission is not something that one person accomplishes on his or her own but is a team effort.
“It’s been a true pleasure to work with this team under the CTF construct,” he said. “You’ve got this fairly complex organizational chart with government personnel and contractors from different functional areas across the base, not many of whom actually report to the same person, all coming together to get the job done.
“There is so much cooperation, knowledge sharing, and teamwork that goes on; regardless of who signs your paycheck, everyone works to get the mission done. Do we always do it perfectly? No, but at the end of the day everyone gives 100 percent to get the job done.”
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dias initially had aspirations of one day joining the Air Force and becoming a pilot.
“I’ve always wanted to fly, but I was medically disqualified for issues with my vision,” he said. “Though, as an engineer, it’s rewarding to see a jet flying overhead and know that you were part of the team that put that magnificent machine in the air.”
At the end of his work day, Dias goes home to his wife, Yekaterina, and their three daughters.
“They are so much fun,” he said. “Playing and spending time with my girls is the best part of my life.”
He also has many hobbies, one of which is music.
“I dabble as a barely passable musician at church on the weekends, playing either guitar, bass or the drums,” Dias said. “I enjoy the occasional woodworking project, backpacking, hiking, running, boating wakeboarding, waterskiing and traveling to explore this amazing planet of ours.”
In a month Dias will have a new area to explore as he is being assigned to another duty station.
“We are on our way out the door, heading to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in May,” he said. “I’ll miss working here, I’ve immensely enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time at AEDC. There’s no place quite like it, and I doubt I’ll ever have a job like this one again.”