Behind the rank: Colonel Schollars

Col. Todd Schollars, 30th Mission Support Group commander, continually demonstrates his leadership qualities by engaging his Airmen where they work. Despite his positional status as a group commander, Schollars says the wellness of his subordinates has and will always be a top priority. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jan Kays/Released)

Col. Todd Schollars, 30th Mission Support Group commander, continually demonstrates his leadership qualities by engaging his Airmen where they work. Despite his positional status as a group commander, Schollars says the wellness of his subordinates has and will always be a top priority. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jan Kays/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- During a recent water line break here at Vandenberg, Col. Todd Schollars, 30th Mission Support Group commander, accompanied Lt. Col. Deron Frailie, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, to the break site. Standing in a 10-foot deep ditch with Frailie and several 30th CES Airmen, he casually conversed with the team fixing the break.

"How has your experience at Vandenberg been so far?" Schollars asked an Airman 1st Class.

"Are you doing what you thought you'd do when you joined the Air Force?" Schollars inquired to a Senior Airman.

Despite a busy schedule as a group commander, Schollars believes that getting out to talk with Airmen where they work is the most important and rewarding part of his job.

The 30th MSG is made up of about 1,800 members, which includes officers, enlisted personnel, civilians and contractors. They are responsible for all base services, including housing, personnel, logistics, transportation, morale and recreation services, civil engineering, contracting and security.

Although this responsibility is fairly broad in scope, Schollars works to keep a positive attitude.

"Col. Schollars is very easy-going, which is always nice for somebody in my position," said Laurie Carter, 30th MSG secretary. "I'm not sure what it would take to rattle him because of his constant tranquil demeanor. He is able to multitask really well, which is something you have to do in his job because there are so many things going on, all the time."

In his first position as a group commander, Schollars insists the difference between a squadron and group commander is one of experience, not difficulty.

"What's interesting is you'd think as you go up in levels of jobs, it's always going to be more difficult, but it's actually just a different experience," said Schollars. "As a squadron commander, you're usually in your career field expertise, and you're very involved in the tactical details of your squadron, what's happening and all the different projects. As a group commander, you can't be that involved at the tactical levels because there's so much more going on, you cannot be an expert at each one of those levels."

Another difference as a group commander is the level of behind-the-scenes activity that most people aren't aware of.

"For most of my military career I was in the operations type of career field, so I was basically a customer of the base," said Schollars. "Now, I'm getting to see how an Air Force base really works. All of the behind-the-scenes stuff makes everything run smoothly. If we're doing our job right, it should be transparent to the rest of the base, and make it a great place to live and work. If you can drive on the base and have solid infrastructure, have non-stop fire and police protection, and your family's needs are taken care of, then we're doing our job. I'm learning how things really work on an Air Force base, and more importantly, getting to work with the Airmen who make it all happen. It truly is a privilege."

For members of Team V looking to become future leaders, Schollars insists getting into a leadership mentality sooner rather than later is pivotal to success in the military.

"I recommend that everyone take charge and lead," said Schollars. "It doesn't matter what rank you are, even if you have no stripes on your sleeve, there will be opportunities to take charge and lead and I expect everyone to take advantage of that. By doing so, you gain expertise and experience that will pay off in the long run."

Despite his positional status as a group commander, Schollars says the wellness of his subordinates has and will always be a top priority.

"My view is that leaders exist to take care of their people," said Schollars. "People are going to get the mission done, and we have to take care of them and make sure that they've got everything they need. One way I can do that is by talking to those folks and, hopefully with the squadron and group commander being there, they realize what they do is incredibly important. No matter what you're doing on this base, it's absolutely vital, and that's something I think leadership at all levels can do. Go out, talk to Airmen and show them you care about what they're doing."