JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND –
After one full year in command as the 502nd Installation Support Group commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, the question that gets Col. Jonathan Wright motivated and inspired to come to work every day is, “How can we make JBSA a better place to live, work, and play?”
“We are here to support our Airmen and their families as best we can,” said Wright, who took command of the 502nd ISG June 6, 2016. “Our motto is, ‘Your success. Our mission.’”
As the 502nd ISG commander, Wright is responsible for the infrastructure and mission accomplishment of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. His scope of responsibility includes civil engineer support, communications, air traffic control, runway maintenance and legal support of JBSA-Lackland and its 266 mission partners.
One of Wright’s favorite parts of his job is visiting members of the JBSA community, sharing coffee and getting to know different people and learning how they contribute to the mission.
“Getting to know mission partners is a crucial part of being the 502nd ISG commander,” said Wright. “How can we support our mission partners if we don’t know what they need?”
Speaking to service members also gives Wright the chance to impart some of the knowledge others have given to him over the years in hopes of helping them reach their goals.
“So many mentors, supervisors, and coworkers have helped me get to where I am today and I would like to pay that forward,” Wright said. “I had a boss when I was a young lieutenant who would call me into his office and take an hour and a half to share his experiences. I was so engrossed with his stories and amazed that he would take the time out of his busy schedule to mentor me like that.”
“When I’m talking to Airmen, I’m thinking ahead to tomorrow’s leaders, folks that will be replacing me down the road,” Wright added.
For Wright, when service members understand their importance and contribution to the mission, they are motivated to excel. His goal as commander is to ensure mission partners receive a great experience as well as timely service.
“How did you receive my service? What kind of a difference did I make versus what did you receive?” Wright explains. “That’s our motto in a nutshell.”
“It’s important to us that we build and sustain a level of trust between our mission partners and us,” Wright adds. “We want them to know they can depend on our installation support.”
Wright’s goals for JBSA-Lackland are closely aligned with the main priorities of Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, 502nd ABW and JBSA commander:
Lead a motivated, highly qualified, world class workforce
Sustain and improve installation process, support and services
Manage infrastructure sustainment and resources
“While these are all important to us, we really want to focus on improving the infrastructure,” Wright explains. “Especially in the next three years, but also deep into the future. Interacting with our mission partners is a big part of taking care of the infrastructure so we can know where to put those dollars.”
Wright will admit that in order to make JBSA a better place to live, work, and play for spouses and family members, it requires others just as dedicated to help make this happen. That’s where Lisa Wright comes in.
As the 502nd ISG commander’s wife, Lisa is also very much involved with the ISG as their key spouse.
“As a group level key spouse, I mostly mentor the spouses at the squadron level,” said Lisa “They can come to me with any problems they might have and I can maybe help by reaching out to one of my (contacts).
“We want bigger and better for our families. There are so many wonderful resources around JBSA and we hope to reach more families so that they know what’s out there,” Lisa said.
Lisa said the biggest part of what both her and her husband do is to be there for their people. This was evident Thanksgiving Day 2016.
“We baked about 20 pies and drove to all of our locations to drop them off for our Airmen who had to work during the holiday,” said Lisa, adding that she knows what it’s like to be away from family, and it’s their job to support service members and their families.
Wright also shows his support for Airmen in a personal way. As an avid artist who began drawing as a hobby, Wright is known to give away his personal drawings to Airmen on special occasions, such as retirement or a permanent change of station.
“It started as a hobby, but as my skills developed, people began requesting my drawings,” Wright explained. Wright doesn’t sell his drawings. When he gives away his drawings he asks the recipients to do something nice for somebody else in return for receiving his work.
As Wright works with his staff to move toward the 502nd ABW vision of JBSA becoming the premier installation in the Department of Defense, Wright is determined to continue providing innovative solutions to increase mission efficiency and growth.
Squadrons under the ISG are working to preserve and protect the installation into the future, according to Wright. Future projects include renovations to the air traffic control tower, and modernizing communications and infrastructure systems.
“There’s approximately 15 to 16 different categories of infrastructure, anything from the sewer lines, to roads, bridges, roofs, interior, energy and so on,” he said. “I have seen countless examples of people putting service before self, working at the darkest hours of the night to solve emergency situations. There’s an incredible amount of work happening by outstanding professionals every day.”
Highlighting the work of the 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Wright believes that a large part of the wing’s success is due to their efforts toward sustaining and innovating systems to combat any problem that may arise.
“When you go to turn the lights on, you expect that the lights are going to work, but behind the scenes there are so many people involved,” said Wright. “There’s a whole energy distribution system to get that power to that light bulb but we just take it for granted.”
Feeding off the dedication and tireless work accomplished by 502nd ISG members, Wright plans to continue providing support and guidance to not only service members assigned to his command, but to everyone at JBSA.
“I have many exceptional professionals that work daily supporting our mission partners and I have an incredible amount of respect for their efforts,” Wright said. “I want to thank them for their work and know that through their tireless efforts and passion, we can continue providing unparalleled customer experience and mission support for our partners.”