In life, there is often a person who unintentionally makes you hang on to every word they say. The type of person that you would go to the ends of the earth for. For us at Gravity Jack, that person is our recently-appointed CEO, Josh Abel. Josh’s commitment to not only his own success but the success of Gravity Jack and all of his employees is simply unrivaled. For most, leadership is a trait that we want to inherently possess –– and, sometimes, it can be easy to wish for great leadership ability without considering the extra level of effort that it takes. Those who have the privilege of watching Josh operate quickly learn that leadership is a trait that’s earned.
One of the many facets that make Josh the selfless leader he is, is his contribution to society outside of the walls of Gravity Jack. Several of his personal accomplishments were highlighted when he was announced as our CEO earlier this year. Additionally, we were so inspired about his time spent as a mentor with the WOLF youth leadership program that we did an entire write up on his experiences there as well. To him, these sort of things are simply second nature –– a responsibility that he has to others, and he would never boast about them. The fact of the matter is, they deserve to be recognized, especially his latest!
In his most recent accomplishment, this fall, Josh was named an Honorary Commander (HC) at Fairchild Air Force Base located here in Spokane. The overall mission of the Honorary Commander program is to bring leaders from the Greater Spokane community together with leadership at Fairchild AFB and, ultimately, foster a relationship between the two. “It’s a special feeling to be validated as a leader amongst people of influence within the community,” said Josh. Over the next two years he will be engaged in a dual mentorship with Major Timothy (Damon) Dalby, who is the squadron commander of the 336th Training Group. Major Dalby, currently a civil engineer, specializes in SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) training. It’s his to duty to ensure that no matter the time or the place, our airmen can escape any situation and return home with honor. Josh will witness, firsthand, unclassified training exercises, participate in changes of command ceremonies, commander calls, holiday parties, and other squadron activities to increase his awareness of the military family way of life.
Most recently, Josh had the privilege of joining Spokane City Mayor, David Condon, and several other fellow HCs on a two-hour orientation flight in a KC-135 Stratotanker. The Commander of Fairchild AFB, Colonel Brian McDaniel was pilot-in-command. This flight included a three-ship of KC-135, flying in formation on a refueling track from Eastern Washington (near Ephrata) to Eastern Montana (near Billings) and back. A three-ship of tankers (even in training purposes) is rare, only occurring once or twice a year at most. This extraordinary opportunity featured mid-air refueling of C-17 Globemaster from Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA, while exhibiting the strategic location that Fairchild AFBoffers, as well as its relevance to the PACAF. Fairchild is only one of a few relief stations West of the Mississippi River that is capable of performing such an operation.
While the mentorship was initially coordinated on a professional level, Josh is making it a priority to get to know Major Dalby on a personal level as well. “I hope he is a fan of barbeque, because I fully intend on hosting him over for dinner numerous times over the next two years,” Josh chuckled. He added, “But in all seriousness, I have the utmost respect for the men and women that serve our great country. I personally never served, and feel like this is one way I can do my part to give back to those who lay their lives on the line to keep us safe.”
The reality is that the personal and professional relationship between Josh and Major Dalby will only be as strong as their commitment to the Honorary Commander program. Josh was quick to point out that it was his responsibility to introduce Major Dalby to the Spokane community, and he plans to do just that. “This base is important to our community, and I will be working directly with Major Dalby to convey that message.”
We are looking forward to hosting Major Dalby in the Gravity Jack offices over the course of the next few years and showing him some of the future technologies that we are currently developing. If he can handle the SERE training for the Air Force, we are confident that he will have no problem strapping on a virtual reality headset and getting immersed! As is the case with all of Josh’s endeavors, he has our team’s full support –– especially with this one. It’s an opportunity near and dear to our team. As a team that uses the power of technology to work alongside government agencies, we look forward to the opportunity to show that our support goes well beyond simply creating the future experience.