A reflection on Col. Carroll’s first year as the 75th ABW commander

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Taylor Ferry, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Col. Jenise Carroll, the 75th Air Base Wing commander, recently shared her experience in leading the people of the Air Force’s second largest installation.

“When I took command, I vowed to listen, learn, and lead,” she said, describing her philosophy on leadership.

In her short time here, she has used that philosophy to gain perspectives from big “A” Airmen, civilian and military, across the base, learned about the important missions of Hill and the importance of the mission partners inside and beyond the fence line, and led Team Hill through a global pandemic and poised the base towards growth.

Our People

Carroll emphasized taking care of people when she took command.

“The mission cannot succeed without the welfare and morale of our people,” said Carroll. “If we don’t take care of our people, we will not retain the incredibly talented people here and fail to recruit new talent.”

One of the ways that Carroll has strived to improve the quality of life for Airmen is by working with the First Four, a private organization open to the Airmen tier, on the renovation of the Airman Recreation Center.

The ARC is a recreation center meant for junior Airmen to watch movies, play pool, eat meals, and have commander’s calls.

The renovation resulted from a strong partnership fostered with the Top of Utah Military Affair Committee, who donated many things to the project, including tables, chairs, and a projector and screen for the theater.

TOUMAC also contributes to base events like the upcoming Military Salute Picnic, taking place on Aug. 6.

Initiatives like Family Advocacy’s new “comfort room”, a space designed to instill a sense of peace and tranquility, have targeted the resiliency of Hill Airmen.

Carroll also made it a point to embrace open and honest feedback.

Hill’s First Four, an organization that serves the junior enlisted Airmen tier through guidance, professional development and volunteer efforts, resumed its CoffeeTalks program, a panel discussion that provide an atmosphere where all ranks can come together to talk about real issues.

Carroll and the 75th ABW Command Chief were there to answer questions on any issues Hill Airmen were having, from career progression to basic allowance for housing.

She also attended open town hall discussions with the privatized housing resident council and the base’s special observance councils, receiving valuable feedback on quality of life issues affecting those in and out of uniform, as well as discussing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the force.

“Without listening to the people I lead, I cannot understand their passions, challenges, or what motivates them,” she said. “That is why I have made such a proactive effort to receive feedback from Team Hill.

The 75th ABW also has a dedicated feedback page where anonymous feedback can be given straight to wing leadership.

Our Partners

“Coordinating with 52 mission partners and commanding such a dynamic wing is the largest undertaking of my career,” said Carroll. “I wanted to hit the ground running and take care of our nearly 29,000 people.”

The colonel took command during a unique time, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic caused us to shift our mindset and look at what we were and were not doing,” said Carroll. “Heavily relying upon innovation and telework made us rethink how to do things differently, hence working from our homes versus offices,” she said. “This shift was a monumental effort and true testament to the approximately 9,000 Airmen and Guardians that transitioned to telework during the height of the pandemic.”

Along with combating the pandemic, she remained dedicated to improving the base.

“I like to frame challenges as opportunities,” said Carroll. “One of the biggest opportunities we have is to modernize this base’s infrastructure.”

Hill, which recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, still uses buildings constructed at the base’s creation.

“That infrastructure not being modernized throughout that timeframe puts an additional strain on your overall ecosystems, such as your water and electric,” said Carroll. “In order to get at the infrastructure piece, the Air Force went into an agreement with MIDA, the Military Installation Development Authority.”

The partnership Hill AFB has leveraged with MIDA has provided another mechanism to modernize facilities through the Enhanced Use Lease program, and allows the Air Force to competitively lease underutilized land to a private entity.

The land is then developed for commercial purposes. In exchange, the Air Force collects cash or payment in kind, which is the rental income used to construct additional buildings.

The commander recently shared her experience in leading the people of the Air Force’s second largest installation.

“Since we went into this agreement with EUL developers, we have created several new buildings on the installation, including Falcon Hill, which is where some of our mission partners reside,” she said. “That’s truly a unique way to accelerate change -- improving our infrastructure.”

In addition to the MIDA partnership, the 75th ABW command team and Team Hill has hosted our newly elected governor, Spencer Cox, newly elected  U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, local mayors, and university presidents, providing each an in-depth tour of the base’s many missions and their vitality to Utah’s economy and national defense. Hill AFB is the largest single site employer in Utah with an economic impact of $4.5 billion in 2020.

In addition to hosting visits, Carroll had the opportunity to speak at multiple venues including as the keynote speaker for Zion Bank’s Power Speaker Series, an interview on leadership for “Utah Girls in Tech”, and the groundbreaking of the Mayflower Mountain Resort, solidifying the importance of partnerships to develop the “Next Generation” of Airmen and Guardians.

Our Future

Forward-thinking continues at the 75th ABW and was a driver when creating the wing’s strategic plan.

“When we were creating the wing’s strategic plan, instead of only involving senior leaders from the wing, I also included a junior Airmen, junior officer, and a civilians who were able to lend their often unheard perspective,” said Carroll.

“Our mission is evolving, and we need to be responsive to new and innovative ideas, or we may lose.”

Hill continues to bolster its vital role in the United States’ national security by gaining new missions, like housing the Mission integration Facility of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.

“Hill remains on the cutting edge of our national defense,” said Carroll. “In order to maintain that edge, we need to continue bolstering partnerships with our community partners and elected officials, and make sure we are investing in our employee’s wellbeing.”

As the colonel goes into her second year of command, growth remains a priority and a necessity.

“We expect to see tremendous growth in Hill’s mission sets and personnel in the future,” she said. “In my remaining time here, I need to ensure Hill is maintaining its ability to retain talent.”

In the next 25 years, eight million square feet of land, in and around the base will be developed as part of the EUL. This includes office space, retail outlets, restaurants, and hotels.

“The dedication of Team Hill and support from our local community have made my first year in Utah a great experience,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to serve them.”