VP of Cox Business Oklahoma selected as reserve wing honorary commander

  • Published
  • By Lauren Kelly
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 507th Air Refueling Wing here welcomed their 2022 honorary commander and held a tour and static aircraft display Jan. 27, 2022.

Ashley Perkins is the wing's new honorary commander for 2022. As vice president of Cox Business Oklahoma, Perkins provides direction and leadership for the business-to-business sales organization and other operational assets within the company.

Perkins thanked everyone involved for the individual tour of the wing, which consisted of mission briefing and a hands-on tour of one of the wing’s eight KC-135 Stratotankers.

“I so enjoyed my time with your team,” Perkins said. “I have told everyone about it who will listen.”

Col. Michael Parks, 507th ARW wing commander, led the tour and explained the mission of the Reserve air refueling wing to Perkins and how it differs from a traditional active duty unit.

“Our Reservists are embedded in the community,” Parks said. “Traditional Reservists hold civilian jobs in the local community and have roots planted in Oklahoma. Of course the Air Force Reserve has a variety of opportunities to serve all over the country, but the many in the Okies family choose to serve in the wing for their whole career.”

Perkins, a native of Oklahoma, understands the magnetic pull that Oklahoma possesses, as she returned to Oklahoma in 2021 from her previous role as Vice President of Cox Business for Nebraska, Iowa, and Idaho. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a 30-year veteran of the technology industry, her background includes telecommunications, technology start-ups, government affairs, marketing, and public relations.

“To the aircraft maintenance airmen, thank you all for your time, and most importantly, for the amazing work you do to keep our pilots and crews safe,” Perkins said. “I’m proud to be an honorary member of the Okies.”

Perkins has been named the Woman of the Year “50 Making a Difference” twice, received the “40 Under 40” award and been named to the Cox Winner’s Circle and Torch award.

“We are very lucky to have formed a partnership with Ashley,” Parks said. “She has a wide range of career experience that will be integral in sharing our airmen’s perspective throughout the community.”

One of the goals of the Honorary Commander’s program at Tinker AFB is to develop integral interpersonal relationships to better learn and understand how each partner’s activities impact the community and Tinker AFB. The year-long program consists of activities that provide opportunities for each of the leaders involved to learn more about the mission and professional responsibilities of Tinker’s leadership.

Honorary Commander Program candidates are selected from a cross-section of communities, with nominations submitted through local chambers of commerce and current and former participants.

Those selected to participate in the 2022 class are:
-Brent Kisling, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce
-Steven Harpe, State of Oklahoma Chief Operating Officer and the state director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services
-Dr. Zahed Siddique, associate dean for the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma
-Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, owners of Home Creations
-Jill Castilla, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond
-Marcy Jarrett, executive director of the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce
-Ashley Perkins, vice president of Cox Business in Oklahoma
-Darrell Davis, mayor of the City of Edmond
-Ronnie Guest, city manager for the City of Choctaw
-Lawrence McKinney, president and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition
-Sandra Shelton, government and public affairs coordinator for the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission
-Lee Dow, director of Aerospace and Transportation for the Moore Norman Technology Center
-David Nimmo; president and CEO of Chickasaw Nation Industries
-Dr. Amy Cataldi, dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University
-Tamara Pratt, director of Strategic Communications for Guernsey
-Kenton Tsoodle, assistant city manager for the City of Oklahoma City

Over the course of the year, Honorary Commanders will get an inside look at Tinker’s role in the Air Force through tours of the world’s largest jet engine repair facility, the 552nd Air Control Wing’s Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft and the Air Force’s only flight standards agency. In addition, they will experience an aerial refueling flight on a KC-135, tour the Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing ONE and much more.