The U.S. Navy's Distinguished Leaders Program

Tagged in: Hampton Roads
The U.S. Navy's Distinguished Leaders Program
Five lucky members of the Chamber participated in an overnight embarkment on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

Five Board of Directors (BOD) and Trustees participated in the Distinguished Leaders Program facilitated by the U.S. Navy on November 5-6. This unique opportunity was made possible by the Chamber’s wonderful relationship with the U.S. Navy. These lucky Chamber members, who were first to respond to the invite, participated in an overnight embarkment on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

These members were pleased to join the elite group of those who have both landed on and been shot off an aircraft carrier at sea. They observed both day and night flight operations, the overwhelming power of the equipment on the flight deck and a comprehensive tour of shipboard spaces and much more. 

Sharon Fanto, Vice President of Cox Media“The level of access and camaraderie of the ships staff was at a level that was second to none.  The experience was amazing,” said Sharon Fanto, Vice President of Cox Media and member of the Chamber’s BOD. “The Captain, XO, PAO and their teams took us on an amazing experience. The COD flight was like your most amazing roller coaster ride without windows! We watched aircraft take-offs and landings from multiple vantage points on deck and in flight control. We experienced day and night operations. It was a memorable experience and representing the Chamber makes sense as we return to our businesses more motivated than ever to hire military. Once we have seen first-hand their hard work, dedication and commitment, you want anyone who has served in the military to join your team.”

Mike King CFO of Southern Auto Group and Trustee member of the Chamber felt gifted to have received this “bucket-list” opportunity.“Every facet of the experience was informative and enjoyable,” said King. “In addition to the uniqueness of the experience I tell people that I came away with three singular thoughts. Firstly, I was very impressed by the command, Captain Koehler, Captain Aguilar, and CMDCM Langejans, appreciation and value attributed to the crew of people manning the ship. Second, the enthusiasm and positive attitude of the crew was an example of exemplary leadership. Third, I was so impressed with the discipline of the flight deck. Jets were landing, taking off, and being shuttled around the deck like a parking garage. All of this was being orchestrated by hundreds of crew members on deck in a very well ordered fashion. Fourth, I want to thank LCDR Rebecca Rebarich and her crew for the patience, and forbearance while showing us around the ship. Her enthusiasm definitely added to the experience.

Michele Partridge-Lane of Russell's Heating & Cooling also attended. “Who knew that serving on the Chamber Regional Board for many years would afford me the chance to spend two days engaging with the wonderful men and women who serve aboard this great warship? I am humbled and honored to stand on the deck of a carrier as F18's are being launched and recovered by sailors younger than most college students. The pride these sailors have for their ship and our country is inspiring!”

The Chamber values its Board of Directors and Trustees dedication to the Chamber and hopes to partner with the Navy again for future opportunities in 2016.

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