Top engineer credits team for success

Air Force recognition can be awarded as a unit or individual selection. But most people who win individual awards will credit their units for making them shine. This is the case for Lt. Col. Ivette O’Brien.

O’Brien recently received the Air Force Field-Grade Base Bioenvironmental Engineer of the Year award for her work in fiscal year 2007 as the commander of the 27th Special Operations Aeromedical Dental Squadron, Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight.

“My accomplishments have a lot to do with the (bioenvironmental) team,” said the colonel. “They helped me excel.”

O’Brien led 20 airmen in the flight to surpass preventive health goals. Bioenvironmental’s main focus is in the fields of industrial hygiene, occupational health, radiological health, and environmental protection to ensure healthful working conditions are maintained and that the environment is not adversely affected by Air Force operations.

“Even though this is an individual recognition award, no one in today’s Air Force excels without a supporting team,” said Lt. Col. Jimmie Bailey, 27th SOAMDS commander. “Her award proves that the bioenvironmental engineering flight is a first class team of hardworking professionals. Colonel O’Brien provided the guidance and leadership necessary to make them a winning team.”

The Cannon Ambulatory Clinic provides an array of healthcare from sick call to optometry, but the clinic is relatively small. This award shows that the size of a unit does not determine the amount of their success.

“This recognition is also important to Cannon AFB,” said Bailey. “It stands as a reminder to the rest of the Air Force that Cannon has some of the best airmen in the Air Force executing the mission each and everyday.”

For O’Brien, executing the mission includes eliminating all medical discrepancies, occupational illness, mission downtime, federal fines and waterborne illness. She also saved $200,000 by developing a base water perchlorate action plan with cost saving options.

Since receiving the award, O’Brien has taken over the position of the base inspector general.