Emerging leader named supervisor of the year

  • Published
  • By Donna Lindner
  • Air Force Research Laboratory
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- A leader in composite materials research at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate was selected as the Supervisor of the Year recently during the directorate’s annual awards banquet.

Amber Davis, section chief for the Materials and Processing Section, Composites Branch, Structural Materials Division, was recognized for her excellence in leadership in front of a crowd of more than 300 scientists, engineers, researchers and family members during the event. Davis is responsible for the management of the polymer matrix composite and ceramic matrix composite research teams.


“Amber is a rising leader in AFRL.  She brings a strong technical foundation to her section, resulting in recurring recognition for her and her team’s technical accomplishments,” said Tim Schumacher, Division Chief, Structural Materials Division. “More importantly, Amber has a passion for helping people succeed.”


The supervisor of the year award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in supervisory skills and the ability to balance the goals of the directorate with the needs of the individuals on the team.


In addition to overseeing two of the largest research teams in the directorate, Davis also manages $66 million in Manufacturing Technology programs, helping to transition next generation technologies into the industrial base in order to facilitate their widespread use on military and commercial applications. She also found time to pursue professional leadership development taking several courses–including the AFRL Pre-supervisory Development Program and the “Maximizing Your Leadership Potential” course through the Center for Creative Leadership.


Supervising 24 government civilians, 35 contractors, and four student interns, Davis encouraged a number of them to pursue similar developmental courses and career broadening programs.


“Amber is very invested in the success of the team and in the effectiveness of the civilians she supervises. Her leadership style includes open communication and a genuine concern for the well-being of section members,” said Dr. Joshua Kennedy, a research physicist on the Polymer Matrix Composites Research Team. “She works hard to enable the rest of us to do our jobs better and is a strong advocate for our best interests, both collectively and individually.”


Davis was also nominated for a second award as part of a team with Dr. Gregory Ehlert for the R. Lee Kennard S&T Manufacturing Heritage Award for their work on Automated Fiber Placement for Composites. This award recognizes the outstanding performance and achievements of personnel working on manufacturing technologies in support of the directorate’s mission.


"Amber loves her people - that’s the long and the short of it,” said Dr. Jonathan Spowart, Senior Materials Research Engineer, Materials and Processing Section. “She genuinely cares about the careers of those whom she supervises, which will surely lead to her continued growth and success at higher levels of supervisory responsibility. This is a very well-deserved award for Amber."


Davis received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Wright State University and a Master of Science degree in materials engineering from the University of Dayton.


“I was extremely honored to have been nominated and chosen to receive this award,” said Davis. “I am also very grateful for the opportunity to work with an amazing group of scientists and engineers every day.”


Davis will compete for the title of AFRL Supervisor of the Year later this month.