Steven Zander, who leads the Air Force Community Partnership Program, will be honored today on Capitol Hill as one of 30 finalists for the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals.
“The Service to America Medal finalists showcase the good that our public servants do each and every day behind-the-scenes on behalf of the American public,” Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service, told Federal News Radio. “They epitomize the true spirit and value of public service,” Stier said.
Zander was nominated in the management excellence category for leading a team to develop innovative partnerships between Air Force bases and their neighboring communities to save money and strengthen the local base and community support in a wide range of service areas, including libraries, golf courses, snow removal, operation of a water/wastewater treatment plant, and construction/maintenance of ball fields, according to a press release.
“Steven has helped the Air Force and our bases think differently,” said Miranda Ballentine, assistant secretary for installations, environment and energy. “It used to be that bases were mini cities in terms of all the municipal services they self-provided. Steven leads a team that goes to the bases and has a well-defined process to brainstorm ways to best utilize base and local community resources and expertise,” Ballentine said.
The Air Force Community Partnership Program is the service’s effort to implement the new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions.
An example of an initiative under development calls for Goldsboro, N.C., to invest almost $8 million to build fields for a shared sports complex on 63 acres at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The effort will bring benefits to airmen and families residing in local communities and on base, as well as provide almost $900,000 in potential facility benefits to the base, according to the release. The city will realize new tax revenue from sporting event attendees.
“We set the framework that devised a creative way to train and send teams to installations and their surrounding communities,” Zander said. “The greatest results are achieved when installation and community leaders embrace the concept of partnering and use the Air Force’s well-structured process which provides support as needed to help them find ways to get to yes,” he said.
The eight winners of the Service to America Medals, popularly termed “Sammies,” will be announced in October at a gala in Washington.