WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson recognized the career achievements of a Defense Intelligence Senior Leader from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, during the Presidential Rank Awards Ceremony held at the Pentagon July 6, 2018.
Measured against 9,000 other Senior Executives, David Drake, Technical Director, Communications and Information Directorate as well as the Technical Advisor to the Air Force Intelligence Community Element Chief Information Environment Officer, was selected by President Donald J. Trump as well as two others from the Air Force, the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award recipients, an achievement limited each year to only 1 percent of SES federal employees.
“I am honored and humbled to have received this recognition, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the confidence from my leadership and the hard work of our military and civilian workforce,” Drake said.
As the communications and information directorate, Drake is responsible for procuring, developing, operating and maintaining information technology services and infrastructure for NASIC and select Air Force and Intelligence Community organizations as well as provide IT strategy for the Air Force Intelligence Community as the Technical Advisor to the Air force Intelligence Community.
“Each of you has developed deep competence in your area of expertise,” Wilson said, who presided over the ceremony. “You’re recognized and respected for that by your peers, your subordinates and by other leaders in the Air Force and the Department of Defense.”
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Drake graduated from The Ohio State University and began working at NASIC shortly after where he held variety of positions and credits his success to the unique missions he’s had the opportunity to be a part of during his 32 years of civil service.
“NASIC is one of the few places you can truly be a part of a different intelligence agency by changing jobs and moving to another squadron,” Drake said. “I think that provided me the opportunity to acquire a broad view of the entire intelligence community and understand each one’s culture, data, governance, and more.”
As Drake’s experience in the intelligence community grew so too did his network of friends and colleagues which helped support him throughout his career.
“The daily challenges I face can honestly be tough and wearing at times, but what I think makes you keep trying are really two things,” Drake said. “First, I think we all come to work for the government and continue to strive to do good things because we fundamentally believe what we are doing is both right and meaningful. Second, personally, I get recharged every time I am working directly with our workforce and they achieve something new and they are excited and want to share with me – those are priceless moments.”
After reflecting on his career, Drake shared some advice for newer civilian hires.
“Treat your present job as if it were the last job you will ever have, be passionate and dedicated in what you are doing right at the moment,” Drake said. “Try to understand all the related activities around you and to understand what is happening above you and lean in to help enable all those things. You will grow in the process and you will help the wider enterprise achieve larger goals. Develop yourself, it is your responsibility and one of the few things you can control in the government. Take satisfaction in the contributions you make rather than a position you may attain; you will be happier and get out of your own way so that good things can come your way.
“Last, I believe successful people possess what I call the three C’s,” he continued. “The first is capability, you need to be really good at what you do. The second is character, all your decisions should be about the benefit of the government and not about you, and the third is caring, it is both about having the internal motivation to do great things as well as the to take care of those around you.”
For more information about the Presidential Rank Awards, a full list of this year's winners or information on how to nominate an employee, visit the OPM Website at www.opm.gov.