Overview:Leadership, its principles, and key attributes have been debated for centuries. Whether leaders are born, developed, self-proclaimed, or heirs to a throne, history has taught us that being an effective leader has nearly always been more about actions than about title or position. During this seminar LtCol Kevin “Buzz” Erker, USMC Retired will be presenting thoughts on leadership from a different perspective. As a 22 year, F/A-18 Combat Veteran and Test Pilot, Buzz’s discussion on Leadership challenges accepted norms and historically defined leadership concepts and will introduce you to the idea of leading from a position of execution rather than from a position of the title.
About the instructor: Kevin “Buzz” Erker was born and raised in Grand Island, NY, a small town just outside of Buffalo. Kevin graduated from Grand Island Senior High School in 1992 and went on to attend and the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). Kevin graduated from UB in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at which time he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After The Basic School, Kevin was assigned to Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola Florida and directed to commence flight training. Kevin completed flight school in 2000, earning his Naval Aviation Wings of Gold. He was then selected to fly F/A-18 Hornets, at which time he was assigned to VFA-106 to complete initial training. After VFA-106, Kevin was assigned as an F/A-18 pilot to VMFA-312 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC. While with VMFA-312 he completed multiple combat deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedoms (OIF, OEF). The first of these deployments was with Carrier Air Wing One (CAG-1) aboard the USS Enterprise and the second was as an Individual Augment (IA) in Iraq training newly recruited Iraqi Air Force Pilots. In 2005 Kevin was selected for the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) Cooperative Education Program and directed to Wright Patterson Air Force Base where he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). Kevin graduated AFIT in 2006 earning a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. After AFIT he attended USNTPS and graduated the Engineering Test Pilot course in 2007. Kevin completed his first tour as a Test Pilot at VX-23, serving as an F/A-18 and T-45 Test Pilot in 2010. In 2011 Kevin was selected as an acquisitions officer, subsequently serving in PMA-281 and then at Headquarters, United States Marine Corps Aviation Plans and Policy on the F-35 Transition Team. In 2013 Kevin was selected to command VX-23, Navy Strike Test and Evaluation. VX-23 operated over 50 aircraft (F/A-18, T-45, F-35, EA-6B, X-47) and was comprised of over 900 government and contractor civilians, Navy, Marine and Royal Air Force/Navy pilots. After command, in 2016 Kevin was then directed to Edwards Air Force Base, CA and served as the Naval Aviation F-35 Operational Test Director. Kevin retired from Active Duty in 2018 after 22 years of service. Over his career Kevin completed multiple combat deployments, accumulated over 2000 hours of flight time in over 30 different aircraft. He and his wife of 25 years, Erinn Erker, reside in Heber City UT with their three children, Owen (18), Grace (16), and Ethan (15). Kevin now owns Elevate Test Solutions, a small consulting company and works part time for Avian. He remains actively flying both, General Aviation (GA) aircraft and former military aircraft.