By Jennifer Erb
2016-08-252016-09-01https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
Bob Corsi was the first in his family to go to college. Growing up in Brooklyn NY, Bob traveled 4 hours a day to go to school at Manhattan College. The travel and the time he spent working made college a challenge. He had his doubts about staying in engineering after failing calculus and structures in his sophomore year. But he never gave up and ended his academic career on the Dean’s List.
Although he was an ROTC student, Bob wasn’t sure the military was the career for him. In fact he had submitted his papers to leave the military after his first rotation. But fate intervened. Unbeknownst to him, he was selected to go to graduate school. With the help of a senior officer, Bob was able to withdraw his separation request and come to WVU as a Masters student in Industrial Engineering.
Bob credits the Masters degree he received as changing his career path and opening up opportunities for him he would never have had otherwise. Bob spent the next 23 years of his career in the Air Force as a commissioned officer. He also recognized the importance of receiving his PE license.
The threshold moment for Bob’s career was in the 10-12 year point. He was assigned to the Pentagon. At that time, Bob was in the top 20% of his peer group. While at the Pentagon, Bob began to understand how the Pentagon works, especially how the various parts of the budget came together. This gave him a perspective that few of his peers had and provided him the foundation to successfully compete at the higher levels. Regardless of your company association, spending time at corporate headquarters can be very important in opening up career advancement opportunities which is an important lesson learned for anyone aspiring to senior leadership positions.
At the end of Bob’s active duty career, he was in the top 1% of his peer group and received the Legion of Merit at retirement which is one of the highest military honors. As his active duty career was winding down, Bob was offered the opportunity to join the Senior Executive Service (SES) and return to the Pentagon. He credits his Master’s degree for giving him the background to rise through the ranks of the Senior Executive Service. Bob’s current level in the SES is equivalent to that of a three-star general. Bob has received two Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards recognizing him in the top 5% of SESs, federal-wide and has been nominated by SECDEF to receive a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award putting him in the top 1%.
Bob was not at the Pentagon on 9/11 but was responsible for managing the relocation of all of the displaced Air Force staff caused by the destruction at the Pentagon.
Bob comments that he is not a political person. He advises students to be aware of organizational politics, but to be true to your own values.
Bob also advises students to get a Master’s degree because it will open up opportunities that you may not have otherwise. His career is testimony to this advice.
Bob says that his time at WVU gave him the college experience he never had as an undergraduate. “It was a great cultural experience,” he says. He enjoyed the interaction with faculty and fellow graduate students, many from other countries.
Robert E. Corsi Jr., a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He serves as principal assistant to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services. He is responsible for comprehensive plans and policies covering all life cycles of military and civilian personnel management, including military and civilian end strength management, education and training, compensation and resource allocation, and the delivery of fully-qualified, ready Airmen for the Joint warfighter while also meeting all the needs of our Airmen and their families. He oversees the execution and programming of the Manpower, Personnel and Services portfolio with an annual $40.9 billion personnel budget for 660,000 military and civilian total force Airmen. As Chair of the Civilian Force Development Panel, he plans, directs and evaluates programs to ensure a qualified, productive and well-maintained work force of over 180,000 civilian employees.
Mr. Corsi was commissioned upon graduation from Manhattan College. During the next 28 years, he served in a wide variety of positions of increasing responsibility at wing, major command, and Air Force headquarters levels. At the staff level, Mr. Corsi has been responsible for training, research, development and logistics manpower. He also served as the military assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Military Manpower and Personnel. He was assigned as the Chief, Manpower Requirements Division, Headquarters Strategic Air Command. He then became the Chief, Manpower Programs Division, Headquarters, Air Force and served in several manpower and organization positions until his retirement. Mr. Corsi entered the Senior Executive Service in July 1998, following retirement from active duty in the rank of colonel. Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Corsi served as the Deputy Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force and as the Deputy Director, Manpower and Organization. He assumed his current position in October 2011. Mr. Corsi is a registered professional engineer (PE).
1970 Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Manhattan College
1975 Master’s degree in industrial engineering, West Virginia University
AWARDS AND HONORS
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak clusters
2004 and 2009 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award
2005 Meritorious Civilian Service Award
2011 Exceptional Civilian Service Award