Rebecca Fleming, U.S. Air Force first lieutenant and logistics specialist associate at CHS, was honored as the Guardian of the Game at the Jan. 28 Minnesota Wild game as part of the company’s partnership with the Wild. Fleming was the first CHS employee to be recognized, with Brent Havelka and Nick Ricci to follow on Feb. 17 and March 25, respectively. The honorees accompany the national anthem singer (John deCausmeaker, pictured at right) onto the ice for an introduction by the public address announcer. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Wild)
By Amy Sitze
Rebecca Fleming has a lot to navigate.
She’s a U.S. Air Force first lieutenant serving in the Air National Guard. She works full-time at CHS as a logistics specialist associate in the company’s energy business. And she and her husband have an active 4-month-old baby and several horses on a small farm in Maiden Rock, Wis.
Luckily, navigation is exactly what Fleming is good at. In her military career, she trained full-time for two years to become an Air Force navigator, a role that involves programming flight plans and making sure cargo and paratroopers land precisely in a designated drop zone. That means understanding wind conditions on the ground and in the air and knowing how fast and at what angle the people or cargo (which could be food, water or even a Humvee) will fall from the plane. “It’s exciting,” she says of flying in a C-130 military transport aircraft. “I’ve never felt much fear because I have so much trust in my pilots. We train a lot and know our jobs really well.”
As part of that training, she’s in the air three or four times a month to keep her skills sharp, which means taking time away from her job at CHS. “It’s tough to feel like you’re contributing enough to both your military obligations and your civilian career, but the attitude at CHS has been very supportive,” she says. “My supervisor helps me figure out what’s going to work for everybody – and my team loves seeing videos I send from the plane.”
It works the other way, too, she says -- because her job at CHS keeps her busier in the spring and fall, she lets her Guard supervisors know that she needs to spend more time on her civilian career during those seasons.
At CHS, Fleming works on the automated fuel delivery program, which allows truck drivers to deliver fuel based on a monitor reading from customers’ tanks. She does quality control on the routes and ensures customers get fuel delivered via the most efficient routes possible.
Fleming says being a woman in traditionally male-dominated fields opens up possibilities for the next generation. “My two nieces watch my every move. Visiting me at the base, seeing the airplane and seeing the job I do makes it real for them,” she says. “They see that women can excel and bring a lot of positive things to the table.”