Don Michels


I thought about being a lawyer or marine biologist. My dad talked me into studying engineering for which I had neither the math background nor aptitude. Dropped out of college after two quarters, joined the Air Force, and found my calling in logistics and air operations. 


Left California in 1961, returned in 1965, left again permanently in 1972. Resided in Colorado from 1972 to 1992, and in Georgia from 1992 to present.


Married with three sons and four grandchildren. Interests include military history, airpower advocacy, church outreach ministries, traveling, exercise, bowling, and golf.


Civic organizations I belong to include the Air Force Association, Reserve Officers Association, and Army Aviation Association of America.


Favorite sports: College football, golf, tennis, soccer, bowling. Tried to become a professional bowler back in the late 1960s, but nearly starved to death in the process. Still enjoy bowling occasionally. My first love in exercise is running, but chronic back problems have constrained me to low impact gym equipment such as treadmills and elliptical machines balanced with workouts with weights. Love animals, especially dogs, including golden retrievers, border collies, and Shih Tzu's.


My all time favorite movie is ̉Animal House".


Education took way too long, but I ultimately earned a BS degree in Management, and a MS degree in Logistics Systems. Also completed USAF's Air War College, the Systems Acquisition Program Manager Course at the Defense Systems Management College, and earned top-level Department of Defense professional certifications in Systems Acquisition and Acquisition Logistics from the Defense Acquisition University. Completed post-graduate work at the Federal Executive Institute in Virginia. Commissioned as an officer in the AF Reserve in 1977 after 15+ years of enlisted service. Am currently considering enrolling in a PhD program in Management at the University of Georgia "just for fun."


Enjoyed two careers associated with U.S. Air Force. One was for 38 years in Federal Civil Service, and culminated in a senior civilian executive position as the program director of Air Force Special Operations, Combat Search and Rescue, and helicopter aircraft fleets, and modification and sustainment programs valued at approximately $5.0 billion over a five year period. The second was as a military member, four years on active duty, and 37 years in the AF Reserve, with the majority of my assignments in logistics and air operations. My final Reserve assignment was Associate Director of Logistics for Air Force Reserve Command. Recalled to active duty three times during Reserve career in support of wartime operations.  Retired from the Air Force at the rank of Colonel (06). Subsequent to retirement from the AF, I worked for five years for a small business specializing in aviation parts support for military aviation fleets. I retired from that job in July 2010.


Retirement from USAF (civilian) and AF Reserve (military) went very smoothly. I was ready after 40 years to go do something else. Retirement from subsequent private sector work 5 years later was also easy as I had become very dissatisfied with company leadership and management (essentially, there was none!), and my inability to convince the owners of the company to make essential changes. I am now fully retired and enjoying life immensely. I have turned down a couple of other employment opportunities during the past year.