McMahon headed to C-17 program office at Robins

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 11, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Retired Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon is returning to Robins Air Force Base to work in the C-17 Combined Program Office for Boeing.

McMahon will serve as director of field operations for the fleet, said Boeing spokeswoman Lori Middendorf. He will be responsible for about 100 Boeing employees at Robins and another 1,000 worldwide who keep the massive cargo aircraft flying.

“He has a stellar background with three decades of service to our nation,” Middendorf said. “We felt like he was the perfect candidate to provide the world-class C-17 support.”

The 21st Century Partnership announced last week that McMahon was stepping down as president and CEO of the group, effective May 4. He has served in the position since Sept. 1, 2012, following his retirement as commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center.

He will start at Boeing on May 9.

In his 34 years in the Air Force, McMahon said he most enjoyed his time working in depot maintenance, and he wanted to return to that.

“From my perspective it was a unique opportunity,” he said. “I get to work with a great team and get to continue to be involved in Middle Georgia.”

Brad Fink, chairman of the 21st Century Partnership board, said board members have already had a teleconference this week on finding a replacement and met Friday to discuss it further.

Some names have been discussed, and Fink said possible candidates wouldn’t necessarily have to be from Middle Georgia. Some have experience at Robins but are now living elsewhere.

“We’ve got a very extensive list that we are beginning to qualify,” he said. “It’s got to be a balance of their intellectual capital within the Air Force and the Department of Defense.”

The 21st Century Partnership is a group of business and community leaders that works to grow jobs at the base and protect it from cuts. The job is considered critically important now with a Base Realignment and Closure Commission looking likely for 2017.

While finding someone to lead the partnership with McMahon’s credentials will be difficult, Fink didn’t seem to fault Boeing for hiring him away. In addition to program management, the base also does overhaul maintenance on the C-17.

“The C-17 is such a major system that obviously his expertise can only help things at Robins,” Fink said.

In 2012, the Air Force moved the C-17 program management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio into a combined office with sustainment personnel at Robins. Boeing and Air Force personnel work there side-by-side to keep the aircraft flying worldwide. McMahon was instrumental in establishing the office while he was commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center.

McMahon said whomever the partnership hires as a replacement, it will go on fine without him. He said its other two employees, Chief Operating Officer Chrissy Miner and Executive Assistant Judy Smith are “two of the most talented people in Middle Georgia.”

“The success of the partnership is based in great part on what Chrissy and Judy do, so the community should understand that nothing will change with the partnership,” he said.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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