Lt Col Matt Altman, Ph.D., P.E., USAF
Chair of SAME Young Member Council
Lt. Col. Matt Altman, Ph.D., P.E., USAF, is an Air Force Civil Engineer serving as a Legislative Affairs Officer for the North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command and is Chair of the SAME Young Member Council. Altman joined the Air Force in 2002 as a Civil Engineering Officer after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has done several assignments at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Dover Air Force Base, Del., and Lajes Air Field, Portugal, before taking a position at U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Headquarters (USAFE-AFAFRICA). Altman then completed the Legislative Fellowship Program, spending one year on Capitol Hill working for Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. In 2011, Altman was awarded the Sverdrup Medal and was awarded the Young Member Medal in 2012.
What is the Young Member Council?
The Young Member Council
represents all SAME members under the age of 40. Our mission is to be an advocate for and engage Young Member support of SAME’s Strategic Plan through outreach, training, networking and recognition. We bring Young Members together, highlight opportunities across SAME, and make sure the Young Member perspective is incorporated in the SAME corporate process and throughout the Society.
Why should a young member of SAME want to participate on this Council?
I have made many of my closest friends in SAME through involvement in the Young Member Council
. The YMC provides an outstanding opportunity to meet other Young Members and participate in SAME at the national level. It’s also a great way to learn about and help shape all the events, training, leadership and mentorship opportunities throughout the Society.
Is the Young Member Council working with any external Young Member organizations?
Currently, we’re only working with other organizations indirectly through our involvement with SAME HQ and the other Councils and Committees. I think it makes sense for us to form direct Young Member relationships with SAME’s partner organizations, so that could be a focus area this next year.
How is the Young Member Council working with the Posts?
I think our biggest impact to Posts is our ability to expand the SAME value proposition to Young Members, thereby helping the Posts with engagement, recruitment and retention. Our direct connection to Posts is through the Post Young Member POCs. We’ve established regular communication with them to receive feedback and relay information on upcoming events and opportunities so they can share locally.
What are people in the Young Member Council passionate about? What worries them?
I’m encouraged every day with how passionate our members are about the future of SAME and finding ways to get new members involved. It’s truly contagious. It’s difficult to say what worries people in the YMC aside from personal daily challenges. I do sense a great deal of concern and passion for mentoring the future generation of A/E/C leaders. That’s not to say we’re worried about the future, but care deeply about helping to shape it.
How long have you been involved with the Young Member Council?
I’ve been a SAME member since my early days as a Lieutenant at Patrick AFB, but only became active in the YMC around 2012. Back then, a former Chair, Tim “Chef” Scheffler asked me to get involved in re-writing the YM Programs Guide. From there, my predecessor, Ben Redding asked me to take on the Programs Vice Chair position, leading up to my current role as the Chair. I think my experience is a testament to the fact that we welcome involvement at any level, so feel free to express interest in getting involved and we’ll find something that interests you and fits your availability.
What do you hope to achieve as Chair?
I’m really proud of what the current YMC leadership team has already done over the past year. My first goal as Chair was to fill out our leadership roster and establish regular communication. Immediately, I was blown away by the interest and quickly pulled together a highly-motivated and extremely capable group of 21 people to form our leadership team, including YMC Liaisons for all the other Councils and Committees. Our regular monthly meetings and constant communication has enabled us to achieve a lot this year and I’m looking forward to doubling-down for next year. Specifically, I’d like to focus on formalizing some of our regular processes (i.e. newsletter creation, professional development calls, Credentialing Achievement Award Program) so we can continue to offer first-class opportunities regardless of who fills our leadership roles. I’m also excited to evaluate and take action on many of the recommendations from our Membership Task Force review, which should be out in the coming months. Finally, I want to re-evaluate the new SAME Strategic Plan and make sure we’re doing everything we can to support it as the Society gears up for 2020 and beyond.
What are some of the qualifications that make you suited for role as Chair?
Not sure I have any unique qualifications for the Chair position, but I do care a lot about SAME and want to create as robust a Young Member program as possible. I also greatly appreciate the experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met through my involvement in SAME, so I want to help create opportunities for others to have similar experiences. Finally, I’m a firm believer in always saying yes to volunteers…if you’re willing to get more involved in SAME, we’ll find a way to get you engaged no matter what your interests or availability.
Tell us a little about your day job and what you love about it?
I’m an Air Force Civil Engineer currently doing legislative affairs for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. While my interaction with Congress over the last couple years has been extremely rewarding, my real passion is working with Airmen to solve challenges and support the mission. You won’t find a better group of people (military and civilian) than the folks who make things happen in a Civil Engineer Squadron, and it’s a real honor to be a part of the CE family.
What has been your career path and experience in the A/E/C industry?
I’ve been fortunate to have a very rewarding career path in the Air Force thus far. I gained a real appreciation for base level civil engineering with assignments at Patrick AFB, FL, Dover AFB, DE, and Lajes Air Field, Azores, Portugal. After Lajes, I went to Ramstein AB, Germany, where I had the pleasure of working with some amazing people at USAFE HQ and learned a lot about the programming realm. After finishing up my Ramstein tour as an Executive Officer, I completed an 18-month Legislative Fellowship, spending one year on Capitol Hill working for Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, before my current job at NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. I certainly haven’t had a traditional career path, but I’d never trade the experiences I’ve had or people I’ve met…it has been extremely rewarding to say the least.
What has been your involvement with SAME?
Thankfully, I was introduced to SAME early on in my career…in fact, my first additional duty in the military was “volunteering” as an officer for the Space Coast Post in Cocoa Beach, FL. Throughout my career I’ve had some great mentors provide numerous opportunities for SAME involvement. I was the Programs Chair at the Space Coast Post before moving to Dover and eventually becoming President of the Delmarva Post. While at Lajes, Colonel Doug Wise encouraged us to stand up a SAME Field Chapter and I was honored to be the inaugural Vice President. At Ramstein, I shifted focus to the regional and national realm, first as the European Region Secretary for Colonel Bob Moriarty and Colonel Scott Jarvis, and then as the Young Member representative on the National Board of Direction from 2011-2014. Throughout those years, my involvement in the YMC grew as well leading up to my current role as the YMC Chair. It’s amazing the opportunities abound in SAME if you just put your hand up and express a willingness to get involved.
What is your favorite SAME memory?
That’s a tough one since I have many, from JETCs or SBCs to mentoring at the USAFA Engineering and Construction Camp. I fondly remember the first annual Lajes Field Chapter Scholarship Golf Tournament. I happened to luck onto the winning team (contributing very little to the effort), but was so excited by the turnout from the community and the generous support we received from the few local companies on the island...it was a great event and neat to see everyone’s excitement when introduced to SAME. In recent memories, it has been the YM outings during the annual conferences. I’m thankful for the lifelong friendships I’ve developed in SAME and the annual conferences have become a wonderful gathering of friends over the years.
Join the Young Member Council
If you are interested in joining the Young Member Council, please go to www.same.org and click on MEMBER LOGIN. Log in with your username (which is most likely your email address) and your password (which is your ID number, unless you personalized it). Once you log in, you will see a Member Account link on the left toolbar. That will take you to your Member Dashboard. Click on the link to update your information. There is a section on the update form called My Committees. You can join or remove yourself from any of our National Committees.