D-Fellows develops Luke Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman David Busby
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force consists of many exceptional individuals with various talents and expertise. Even with all the talent that it holds, the Air Force is constantly looking for ways to innovate and develop its people.

The Decentralized Fellowships program (D-Fellows) is an industry immersion program that allows military members the opportunity to experience civilian workplaces by shadowing employees, observing job sites, and doing project-based work with local companies. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donte Alexander, 372nd Training Squadron F-35 avionics instructor, is one Airman who sought to broaden his horizons through the program.

By working as an understudy in the civilian sector, Alexander has not only learned new processes and strategies but has provided a military perspective to enhance work-ethic, morale and management to On Point Solar Power, a Phoenix based solar power company, further bridging the gap between Luke Air Force Base and the local community.

“It’s nice to see the civilian side of things,” said Alexander. “I’ve been working with management to implement programs for multi-capable employees, much like the Multi-Capable Airman.”

D-Fellows not only provides a unique opportunity for Airmen at all levels to see how the civilian sector functions firsthand but also provides insight into potential employment opportunities post-enlistment.

“As a former Marine, I think one of the big take-aways for a young Airman would be seeing how people operate on the outside,” said Mr. Daniel Hartzog, On Point Solar Power executive director of business development. “It gives you a more conceptualized understanding of where you’re at, in and outside the military.”

On Point Solar provides solar equipment and services as well as home surveillance systems to their customers in Arizona. Alexander has focused on working as a software developer for the company during his six-week term.

“Alexander has been doing a wonderful job,” said Hartzog. “It’s good to have someone with a military background who understands that the job is done when it’s done, not just at five o’clock.”

Alexander has sought ways to improve project management and training processes within the company, as well as easing the workload for other employees at On Point Solar.

“We’re in the middle of a big tech upgrade right now,” said Hartzog. “So, I’m glad Alexander’s been around to take on some of our duties and allow our Chief Information Officer to focus on the bigger picture. Alexander came at a really important time.”

Alexander is grateful for the experience and ready to bring back lessons learned.

“I think there is a lot to gain in bridging the gap between the military and civilian sector,” said Alexander. “Their attention to detail regarding finances and customer care is excellent and worth learning and incorporating into military life. I’m thankful to the Air Force and On Point Solar Power for the opportunity to gain value and give a military perspective where I can.”

Programs like D-Fellows are imperative to Luke Air Force Base’s mission, strengthening relationships with the local community and providing crucial skillsets for the Air Force’s future leaders.