By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith , I.G. Brown Training and Education Center
/ Published August 12, 2014
MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --
The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center here offers more than enlisted professional military education. Its conferences, professional and continuing education, and network productions draw thousands on campus, annually.
Master Sgt. Stephen Fraley, TEC's manager of educational resources and administrative operations, handled them all well enough, said his peers.
"He can organize things better than anyone I have ever known," said Tammie Smeltzer, director of PCE. "His positon has knowledge on everything."
Since his arrival, Fraley helped coordinate 57 conferences and workshops, and 143 PCE classes with more than 12,500 students. He also helped control $66 million in assets, comprising 19 main buildings, including 10 dormitories, five lecture facilities and 35 classrooms.
"It's been busy, and that's good for TEC," said Fraley.
Fraley recently announced that he would depart his position this Fall, but not before training a successor, as well as help manage some busy weeks ahead.
"I guess I'd call him a 'jack of all trades,'" said Smeltzer, in her analogy. "My biggest fear is that we don't capture the many things Steve takes care of here, or those things many take for granted."
Fraley helped to explain the demands of all those things in a fun way, or through similar analogies.
"The way you eat an elephant, is one bite at a time," and Fraley remembered that analogy, among other approaches, when he arrived nearly three years ago. TEC's elephants included some very complicated and demanding events, he said, but that approach served him well in tackling them.
"You could say, our goal was to make a change, one class at a time, or one customer at a time, to get everyone to make TEC their first choice," said Fraley.
Fraley said that he assumed a voluntary force development position here after serving at the National Guard Bureau. The TEC molded his position to organize an inflow of PCE, conferences and other uses of the campus.
Fraley said that he reached out to a broad area and tried to meet everyone's request to use the campus during open times, between Airman Leadership School and NCO Academy sessions.
"We use as much of our facilities the best we can for the taxpayers, so that we're not air conditioning empty spaces," said Fraley.
In addition to the Air National Guard's directed use of the campus, Fraley hoped to improve word-of-mouth business from across the government agencies and the other services.
The Air War College, the U.S. MEPCOM, the Civil Air Patrol, the Army, the Navy, and many more agencies and units, arrived.
"They realized that we're a value to them," said Fraley. He said that few training facilities compete with the central location, the low-cost, and the inclusions of the dining facility, the Base Exchange, the classrooms, the dormitories, the fitness facility, and the base security, among other benefits.
Now, Fraley's goal is to train his successor "to drink from a fire hose" of processes and information.
Fraley said that analogy is good way to understand the challenges for newcomer Master Sgt. Juan Castro, his soon-to-be replacement.
Castro reviewed the stream of data, emails, phone calls, itineraries, schedules, students, billeting and registrations managed through Fraley's desk.
"I'm looking forward to learning the responsibilities," said Castro, who arrived here after nearly nine years with U.S. Southern Command as an airborne linguist.
"This August is a large month for us," said Fraley.
Fraley also coaches high school running backs. He tells them that, when they think they are going down, to take just one more step.
"I think about that too when things here get busy and stressful," said Fraley.
As an assistant football coach, Fraley helped drive his small Christian school football team in Chattanooga, Tenn., to the 2013 state quarterfinals, 11-2.
Fraley said that he enjoys serving as a positive role model to the youth in his community.
In his final analogy, it also contributes to TEC's successful mission.
"Much like a playbook we have a series of procedures and process here, and if they are executed the way they should be done, we are successful," said Fraley.