People who are acquainted with Trevor Sthultz know him at AEP for his roles in change management, strategic problem solving, continuous improvement and leadership.
What they may not know is that he uses those same skills in a new responsibility he has as lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He was recently named group commander of the 914th Maintenance Group, in command of eight KC-135 refueling aircraft stationed at Niagara Air Reserve Station, New York.
The opportunity to serve as group commander is unusual in the reserves, as this position is typically led by a “full bird” colonel. In this role, Sthultz is responsible for equipping, training, and ensuring the combat readiness of approximately 280 personnel assigned to the group and two subordinate squadrons.
His military career goes back more than 20 years. Sthultz was commissioned in 1999 after graduation from Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Texas Tech University, continuing in active duty until 2008, when he entered the reserves. As a reservist, Sthultz deployed to the Middle East for five months in 2016 to lead a team of 70 maintainers and four C-130 cargo aircraft in combat support operations.
“There are numerous parallels between my AEP career and my military career,” he said. “I intentionally sought employment with AEP due to their strong support of the military and their excellent reputation in the energy industry.”
At AEP, where he has worked for 12 years, he helped initiate, organize and lead the Military Veterans Employee Resource Group.
He credits a lot of his teams' successes in the military and at AEP by practicing the "performance pathway" -- he understands how leadership creates the culture that drives the behavior that produces the results.
“In the military and at AEP, I enjoy work that cultivates a positive and productive culture, and leading teams to continually improve processes,” he said. “I use skillsets I’ve learned in my military career at AEP, and vice-versa.”
His current reserve service requires a lengthy commute from Columbus, Ohio, to the base at Niagara Falls, New York. He transferred bases from Ohio to New York in early 2013 and drives to Niagara Falls each month. In his commute over the past six years, he’s driven more than 44,000 miles to perform his military duties.
Among the many accomplishments of his military career are being named Officer of the Year at the group and squadron levels, being an aide to a four-star general, and being a published author. Over the years, he has risen in rank from second lieutenant (1999), first lieutenant (2001), captain (2003), major (2008) and lieutenant colonel (2014). He has earned numerous military awards and decorations, including Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and has served in Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Qatar with other official travel to Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand, Korea, Greece, Japan and several other countries.