Executive director settles into new job; looks forward to opportunity at Arnold

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With only a few days under his belt as Arnold Engineering Development Center's (AEDC) new executive director, Britt Covington is excited about the task at hand.

"My first impression of AEDC was around midnight back in April coming from the airport after being delayed from a TDY in North Carolina," he explained. "I was coming down the main access road and I saw dozens of deer in the road.

"I couldn't believe the wildlife and how pristine the area was. It was remarkable to me how way out in the middle of nowhere the base is, but also how in balance with the natural environment we are compared to other bases."

Having only slight knowledge of the mission here at AEDC at that time, Covington was also impressed with the facilities at a glance.

"But as far as the base and the mission -- I am incredibly impressed," he said. "I was impressed with how large and extreme the test facilities are."

Covington heard about the opening at AEDC through his participation in the Civilian Strategic Leadership Program (CSLP). He explained that his job is identified as being a career broadening opportunity for CSLP participants like him.

Not knowing AEDC Commander Col. Art Huber very well, Covington's first impression of the commander was nothing but positive.

"I think he's outstanding," the director said. "What a gentleman. He seems like he's well steeped in test and evaluation--he's got space experience, he's got air logistics center experience, test pilot engineer school experience--so I'm very impressed."

As executive director, Covington is responsible for being a trusted agent for the commander as his deputy as well as providing leadership on mission, civilian personnel and other AEDC issues.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Britt Covington's caliber coming to us as our new executive director," the colonel said. "He has both the breadth and depth of technical and managerial experience to be an immediate and long-term contributor to AEDC's mission.

I am excited to have a partner in the command section who shares my enthusiasm for T&E and who has decided to dedicate his life in service to his country. I hope that this opportunity will be one where Britt can expand his capabilities from the technical and managerial to those associated with remarkable leadership of people and large-scale, complex endeavors. I'm confident Britt will meet this challenge and emerge from it a seasoned senior leader and a tremendous asset to the Air Force."

An aerospace engineer by degree, Covington brings with him a variety of work experiences ranging from a structural engineer for the C-141 and C-130 aircraft at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, Ga., an aircraft accident investigator at Kirtland AFB, N.M., a chief engineer and technical director at Tinker AFB, Okla., and the 77th Aeronautical Systems Group deputy director at Brooks City Base in San Antonio, Texas.

"I think that having worked in a variety of engineering and management jobs in several different commands and certainly at several bases, I might have a broader perspective," he explained. "So I hope to bring that breadth to the table."
Covington said the best part of any job is working with people.

"Mostly, I enjoy working directly with people and I enjoy the management and leadership aspect of working with people," he said. "One of his mantras is 'to have fun.'"

He explained, "When you come to work every day two things should happen -- at the end of the day you need to feel like you have done something constructive and productive as you hang up your hat, and as well, you should give yourself an opportunity and those around you to have fun in doing what we are doing -- If these two aren't happening, maybe you've missed the boat."

On a more personal note, Covington is looking forward to bringing his wife, Sherry, and their four children to Tullahoma, which they will call their home shortly after the holiday season. The couple's children range in age eight to 11; with the eight-year-olds being twins.