AFLCMC conference room named in honor of Donna Back

  • Published
  • By Allyson B. Crawford, AFLCMC Public Affairs
“It was difficult for [female] personnel to be prepared for senior leadership or to be groomed to be effective acquisition professionals,” explained Kathy Watern, Executive Director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), during a recent ceremony dedicating a conference room named for Donna J. Back.

Donna Back retired from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as Director of Financial Management and Comptroller for the Aeronautical Systems Center, now known as AFLCMC. Back was responsible for financial management of weapon systems acquisition of the B-1, B-2, C-17, F-22, F-15 and F-16. She managed over 700 individuals and an annual budget of $18B.

In addition to her day-to-day work, Ms. Back created successful training programs for the acquisition career field to foster growth among junior employees, especially women. Over time, the Air Force adopted many of the tenets of Back’s training program for career fields force-wide.

During the dedication ceremony, Watern noted she personally benefitted from Back’s training program, as did many of her peers.

“You were truly a mentor to all of us,” said Watern. “Across all generations, all diversities, ma'am. You led the way for us.”

The ceremony was held December 17 at AFLCMC headquarters, Building 14, Wright-Patterson AFB. The conference room is located in the front office leadership suite, used frequently by the Center Commander.

Donna Back says she was speechless and humbled when she learned a conference room would be named for her.

“I'm sure there were many others deserving of this recognition, and I am truly honored,” Back remarked during the ceremony. “I must tell you, when I started thinking about the Commander’s conference room, it reminded me of the many hours and many years that I spent in that conference room, and I could actually visualize many of my colleagues around that conference room table. I could hear their voices as we grappled with the challenge of the day. I could see them crafting the strategies for the future, but the conversations always wove their way back around to our most valued attribute. And that's an incredible acquisition team. The people.”

Another nod to Back’s legacy is The Donna J. Back Financial Management Leadership Award, conferred annually to an Airman who displays financial excellence across the Center.

Donna J. Back worked for the USAF for 33 years.
Watch the ceremony below: