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Ohio Air Wing recruiter finds success in innovation

By Airman Alexis Wade | 179th Airlift Wing, Ohio Air National Guard | Nov. 9, 2018

MANSFIELD, Ohio – Tech. Sgt. Nicholas M. Alexander, recruiter from the 179th Airlift Wing, is using innovation to bring awareness of the Ohio Air National Guard to the local area.

Although Alexander has only been a recruiter for two years, he has already seen success in his work. After working only seven months as a recruiter, he was awarded 2017 Rookie of the Year in Recruiting for Ohio, as well as Region 4, which is composed of all Air National Guard Units in 10 different states.

Alexander humbly noted that his success would not have been possible if not for his supportive Recruiting and Retention team, that he says is more of a family than just an office. On top of that, he believes his innovative ideas for recruiting methods have been a vital contribution to his achievements so far.

Alexander said that new recruiting events and ideas create an open environment for the community to learn about the Guard in a more approachable environment, showing that Guard members are community members, too.

One major avenue Alexander has focused on for bringing awareness to the local area was through Mansfield Senior High School.

Alexander spends his Tuesdays at the school with the students, from sitting in on classes to speaking with them during lunch, helping to make him more approachable and available to them.

On top of that, he and the school's football coach collaborated to create the Herc Challenge, designed to challenge the football team physically and mentally through a series of physical obstacles including a two-mile run, push-ups, sit-ups, bleacher runs, burpees and tire flips.

Additionally, he recently conducted a Center of Influence by providing lunch for approximately 150 staff members from Mansfield Senior Schools at Mansfield Senior High School.

Center of Influences are designed to enable us to get in front of and create that relationship between the influencers, in this case staff members of the school, who have a huge impact on students' lives, said Alexander.

"Having opportunities to do things such as providing lunch for staff members here gives us the ability to teach them about what the Air National Guard has to offer the students," said Alexander. "This results in the staff members having a better understanding of the Air Guard, so they can educate students and offer the Air Guard as an avenue for them to take up during their senior year or after high school."

In addition to all of the time he has put into Mansfield Senior High School, Alexander has focused on conducting more base tours for high schools and career centers, enabling the students to experience first-hand what the guard has to offer.

For Alexander, he has seen progress in the spreading awareness of the Guard to the local community whether it be through his involvement with Mansfield Senior High School, base tours, helping out at the community trick-or-treat, or being present at local school's football games.

"Last year was my first year at Mansfield Senior, we had no enlistments and not much interest in the Guard from the students," said Alexander. "This year has been a complete turnaround, I have had multiple students go to the Military Entrance Processing Station, and I have had one enlistment so far. Additionally, I now see these kids out and about all the time at random places. It's great seeing the connections that have formed between the students and I due to the time put in to the school."

Looking to the future, Alexander plans on continuing to dedicate time to the surrounding community, conducting more base tours, and expanding the Herc Challenge to have six local high schools compete together to finish it, to demonstrate the culture of the Guard.

"I plan on making it a lot like the Guard," said Alexander. "They all will receive and wear the same shirt, just like we all wear the same uniform. They all will come from different places but will work together to get the job done, just like we do here at the 179th Airlift Wing to complete our mission."

Alexander also hopes to create a weekly Guard workout after school on Tuesdays, giving students at Mansfield Senior the opportunity to complete a military style workout with him to show just another aspect of what the Guard is all about.

Alexander believes innovation is a vital key to success, and so far has proven to be true in his career.

"The world is constantly progressing forward, so much has changed in the 10 years that I have been in the Guard," Alexander said. "We as military members should always be looking to the future on creating new ideas and ways of getting things done, to continue to be the leaders in innovation."