Toni Nettles, Class of 2000

Dear Dr. Long,

Regarding your letter dated Jun 1, 2016, I’m honored to be asked and I’d be delighted to share my experiences. In May of 2001 (one year after completing my Master of Human Relations Degree and at the peak of military career), I received orders to Izmir Air Station, Turkey where I was the Superintendent of the Communications Element for the 425th Air Base Squadron. For almost 2 years, my mission was to ensure Command, Control Communications, Computer and Information Management support for 1,200 personnel and to direct operation of the Izmir Local Control Center supporting 485 local area network accounts on two distinctly different operational platforms with various classifications. It was also my job to lead 43 personnel and manage $22M in communications and computer equipment while ensuring compliance with Department of Defense, Air Force, United States Air Forces in Europe and local directives. The knowledge and skills I obtained while in pursuit of my degree were invaluable during my tour of duty (and what turned out to be the pinnacle of my career).

As Superintendent of the Communications Element, being an effective supervisor was job one. A course like Supervision in the Workplace (the course I took in summer of 1999) laid the foundation for my success. I’ve included a copy of my performance report and a photo of my annual achievement award to substantiate my testimony. Perhaps the greatest advantage of having an HR degree is that basic principles like Supervision in the Workplace, Conflict Resolution (the course I took in fall of 1998) can be effectively applied everywhere. No matter where you live or work –small town, big city, cross country or around the world—you will always be required to navigate your way through some sort of group dynamic or solve (or resolve) some sort of conflict and basic concepts never change. My course of study at OU could not have been more suited for the challenges I faced overseas and I was bless to have been equipped with the skill set necessary to fulfill my responsibilities abroad.

At the end of my tour in Europe, I returned to the United States to prepare for retirement. On June 30, 2016, I will have been fully retired for 12 years (after have served for 25). Even now my degree from OU comes in handy. I’ve learned how to think differently- and in my personal life, having adult children (and grandchildren), who DOESN’T need a healthy dose of conflict resolution in their lives?


Toni Nettles