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Ayer looks forward to new role while reflecting on time at Arnold



ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- After serving as the AEDC vice director for the past year, Edward Ayer will soon depart Arnold Air Force Base to begin the next phase of his Air Force career by returning to where it began.

Ayer has been appointed as a member of the Air Force Senior Executive Service to the post of Associate Director of Engineering and Technical Management for the Air Force Sustainment Center at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. His last day at Arnold will be Oct. 11.

As he prepares for his new role, Ayer said he will look back fondly on his time at Arnold.

“It’s been a phenomenal opportunity to lead,” Ayer said. “It’s such an important mission. We are on the cutting edge of the National Defense Strategy in terms of the ground developmental test and evaluation that we do. It’s been exciting to be a part of that next generation technology and developmental testing at a pace similar to what we saw back in the 1960s. The pace of tests, the diversity of the testing we’re doing here, it’s really been awesome to be a part of that over the last year and understand where we’re going as an Air Force with our technology.

“As an engineer, this is really an awesome place to work.”

Ayer began his career with the Air Force in 1985, starting out as a co-op student working in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB. He was hired as an aerospace engineer following his graduation from Auburn University. Early on, Ayer worked on rotary-wing platforms and special mission sensors before moving into program management and acquisitions logistics management. He advised acquisitions at Robins within the Acquisitions Center of Excellence.

Ayer went on to work acquisition logistics management for the C130J Super Hercules and setup the worldwide sustainment for the aircraft as the new weapon system was fielded. He later ran production operations for the C-17 Globemaster III as a production manager in the Depot Maintenance Program at Robins.

From there, Ayer moved on to serve as the technical director at the Air Force Sustainment Center in the Engineering and Technical Management Directorate at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. After two-and-a-half years there, Ayer served as the director of engineering for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

After approximately two years, on Oct. 1, 2018, Ayer began his stint at Arnold AFB. He said he was impressed from day one with what he observed of the wing.

“The professionalism, the expertise, is second to none,” Ayer said. “I honestly haven’t been part of an organization that has displayed as high a level of engagement and excitement about what they do. You see that glimmer, that gleam, in the eyes of the engineers who are working these projects. They get it. They understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, why it’s important. It’s always a joy to be around folks like that and be part of an organization that truly understands that at its core.”

In his new job, Ayer will support the more than 1,500 scientists, engineers and technicians executing the $2 billion workload at Robins.

Along with overseeing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math outreach at Robins, Ayer will also perform much of the annual recruiting and hiring for entry-level and journeymen engineers in support of the mission set. He also has functional management responsibilities for all scientists and engineers at Robins to include military personnel.

The directorate of which Ayer will be a part is also responsible for providing subject matter expertise in non-destructive inspection techniques and technologies that support all of the Sustainment Weapons Systems offices at Robins, as well as the five platforms in the Depot Maintenance Program – the C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, F-15 Eagle, C-130 Hercules and RQ4A Global Hawk.

Ayer said one of his primary goals at Robins will be to significantly reduce the hiring timeline for bringing in new scientists and engineers and meeting the hiring targets for the center.

“The mission growth at Robins has been fairly steep over the last few years, just like here at Arnold where we struggle to hit our hiring targets, they do at Robins as well,” Ayer said. “So one of my primary goals is going to be to reduce the hiring timelines and improve the sheer numbers of S&Es that we’re able to hire in a fiscal year.”

AEDC Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty said Ayer made a significant contribution to AEDC during his time at Arnold.

“He is a true servant-leader who worked tirelessly to make AEDC better every day,” Geraghty said. “Right up to his very last minute on the job, he took on every new responsibility with enthusiasm and applied his vast expertise to help solve some of our toughest problems.

“Nora and I will miss Wayne and his wife, Pam, as they move back to Georgia, but we’re glad to have made new friends in the Ayers. We’re proud of him for his promotion to the Senior Execution Service. The Air Force got this one right.”

Ayer said he will not work directly with Arnold in his new role. However, he said his time at the base was one of his best duty assignments and that he will continue to sing the praises of Arnold AFB.

“It’s a hidden gem, as far as I’m concerned, of the Air Force as far as assignments go,” Ayer said. “If anyone ever wanted to ask me, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about going to Arnold. What do you think?’ I’d be like, ‘You’d be crazy not to go there. What an awesome place to work. What a fantastic place to live.’”