Association of Graduates
Chad Polumbo Class of 2006

Ever since he was a child, Chad Polumbo wanted to continue the tradition of service that his father, uncle and grandfather all exhibited as combat aviators in the Air Force. He followed his father and uncle to the Air Force Academy, graduating in 2006 and later earned his Masters from Troy University in 2010. Chad served as a Flight Commander in Afghanistan and currently serves as the Executive Officer of the Air Force Operations Group. He is active in his local community and graduate community, where he and a classmate started the Class Gift campaign for the Class of 2006.

Candidacy Statement

As a member of the AOG’s Class Advisory Senate for the Class of 2006, I learned that the AOG has a difficult time reaching out to younger graduates. After attending a meeting via webcast, I decided to work with my counterpart to start the Class of 2006 Class Gift. My efforts in that area truly inspired me and gave me the desire to run for the Board of Directors. I believe that the graduate community is best served by a representative sample of its classes, from the most recent to those of decades past.

Why did you decide to run for the AOG Board of Directors?

I am running for the AOG Board for multiple reasons, with two key drivers. The first and most important is a desire to give back to my alma mater, because I have received so much more than I could ever pay back. The second is a desire to provide the perspective of younger classes as a member of AOG leadership. The youngest graduate currently on the board hails from the Class of 2003 (I am a 2006 grad) and prior to his tenure the Board skewed towards classes decades before recent graduates. I hope that the Board can provide principled leadership as well as continued success, and I believe it is best positioned to do so with a diversity of ages in its membership.

What skills, knowledge, & experience do you have that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board?

While I have never served on a Board of Directors, I have always felt a calling to leadership and this is no different. During my time at the Academy, I ran KAFA with two other cadets as the program Director. After the Academy, I led Airmen as Operations and Plans Flight Commanders in Afghanistan and I also led my peers as Community Service Chair of the Langley AFB CGOC then Vice President of the Pentagon CGOC. I recently became involved with the AOG as the Class of 2006’s primary representative for the Class Advisory Senate and currently serve on the Heritage Committee. Finally, a fellow classmate and I initiated the Class Gift project for our class, a large undertaking with the goal of 50% participation in giving back to the Academy. This diverse set of experiences coupled with my relative youth provide me with a unique perspective to serve the Board.

What involvement with the AOG or the Academy have you had that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board of Directors?

As mentioned in my previous answer, I am the Class of 2006’s primary representative in the Class Advisory Senate and serve as a member of the Heritage Committee. Furthermore, my leadership on the Class Gift project has already put me in contact with classmates I never interacted with, as well as members of the Endowment.

How would you suggest the AOG improve its relevance to the Graduate Community as a whole and to individual Graduates?

While I believe there are several specific remedies to this, I will concentrate on the bigger picture. There is a very broad lack of understanding among recent graduates on what the AOG provides to Graduates. Many have yet to consider a career transition, so they are not familiar with the incredible assets that are the Service Academy Career Conference or iSABRD. Those are two powerful tools which connect graduates to a wealth of career opportunities and are just a small sample of what the AOG offers. Additionally, through my work with the Endowment on the Class Gift project for the Class of 2006, I’ve learned that the foundation only has current email addresses for 45% of my class, which in all likelihood has 99% or more of its grads checking email daily. My first question would be how many of these graduates subscribe to 7258’ and ZoomieNews or still receive Checkpoints magazine?

Under the recently adopted Carver governance model, the primary role of the Board is to provide the strategic direction for the organization, while leaving operational administration to the CEO. How do you define strategic direction? What experience have you had in strategic thinking and policy making?

Strategic direction is providing the Ends, or results, that the Board wants the AOG CEO to concentrate on achieving. In the simplest terms, strategic direction is similar to providing the destination and some navigational oversight, while the CEO pilots the aircraft. My knowledge of the Carver Governance model is purely academic, but from my limited reading it seems like an ideal structure for the Board and one in which I will find myself comfortable. As for my experience in strategic thinking and policy making, my efforts with the Class Gift project are my most recent and greatest asset. While we are still in the very early stages, I have already learned a tremendous amount about how to reach out to the graduate community, remind them of how important it is to give back, and to ask them to get involved as well.

How much of your time can you devote to meetings, preparation for Board of Directors meetings, emails/correspondence, committee work, and interacting with members?

I can commit to attending the 4 Board meetings each year in addition to 20 hours per month for other interactions and work. If more is required, I will give more.

Personal Statement

Election Update Message (2/19/2013)

I'd like to thank the graduate community and the AOG for the opportunity to run for the Board of Directors. I've enjoyed this election immensely and look forward to continue to work with the graduate community in the future.

Election Update Message (2/12/2013)

The campaign is still going strong - if you haven't had the chance to vote yet, please vote for me!

Election Update Message (2/6/2013)

I'd really appreciate your support and vote! I continue to connect with graduates with whom I've never connected before and I'm learning a lot about the long blue line. The biggest message I get from others is the desire for more membership and a "grads helping grads" mindset. I'm fully in support of this and hope our great community will provide me the opportunity to continue the AOG's growth in these areas.

Election Update Message (1/30/2013)

Even in Afghanistan, I've run into numerous fellow grads and AOG members who mention the election to me and give me their thoughts on how to improve things for the graduate community. We have a lot of great grads out there and I hope to continue to meet them and listen to their inputs.

I'm excited for voting to begin and hope to continue my involvement with the long blue line.

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Election Update Message (1/17/2013)

I connected with Adam Olshefsky, Class of 1993, and he had some great ideas for the AOG. He separated from the Air Force several years ago and is employed by a large corporation but he's also a small business owner. He said he'd like to see more "grads helping grads" from the AOG, promoting networking among active, reserve, civilian and private sector graduates. Networking is useful both in and out of the military, so I think his idea would be a good focus area. I'm talking to more and more graduates and I look forward to hearing from them and being their sounding board.

Check out Chad's Facebook page:

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Election Update Message (1/10/2013)

The AOG Board election campaign is going great! I've really enjoyed reconnecting with fellow classmates and other Academy grads. If I continue to receive this tremendous support and am elected to the Board, I want to focus on representing all classes, whether currently at the Academy, recently graduated or those who've left the Academy decades ago. I will place a great emphasis on working with the cadets and younger graduates to build a culture of giving back to the Academy, the AOG, the Endowment and our fellow graduates. We have a bright future ahead!

Check out Chad's Facebook page:

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