Profiles in Leadership – Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff – Quality leaders inspire others to succeed!
August 7, 2018 – GRANITE, Md. – It is well known that there are many different types of leaders. It is impossible to follow only one aspect of leadership. The lines that define and separate leadership styles are frequently blurred as effective and successful leaders combine and adapt to qualities of the many leadership attributes. Transformational leaders show new ways of looking at old problems, they challenge the existing protocols and develop new roads to achieve success. As charismatic leaders, they motivate and inspire others to perform at high levels and are committed to their mission. Transformational leaders challenge others to be creative, think outside the box and are recognized for leading high performing teams while coaching individuals to achieve success. Being leaders that are not satisfied with a ‘status quo’, they are leaders of action who lead with the belief that ‘good enough’ never is because what works now can always be made better. This type of leader believes that progress cannot be resisted because of tradition or acceptance of the routine; they encourage open communication and enhance individual performance through vision, creating opportunities, coaching and motivating others.
Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff, Maryland Wing’s director of emergency services, has many of the qualities of a transformational leader and is a viable member of the MDWG leadership team possessing vision and commitment to achieve successes with every mission.
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work,
a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Vince Lombardi, head coach (1960s), Green Bay Packers
Lt. Col. Charles ‘Bob’ Midkiff joined CAP in May 1985 as a cadet. Progressing through all four phases and 16 achievement levels, he achieved the Spaatz award, the highest honor in the CAP cadet program in 1993. “I joined CAP because I was attracted to the emergency services aspect of the overall program. Upon learning about the cadet program while in middle school, it seemed pretty high-speed and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Midkiff has had a stellar career both as a cadet and a senior member including serving as a former Easton Composite Squadron commander and the MDWG Group I commander. He has had numerous opportunities to work and view the many program and operational components of CAP cadet and senior member programs. When asked to highlight accomplishments of his past CAP career, Midkiff replies, “Having the opportunity to serve as the Easton Composite Squadron commander and developing that squadron from only two active members to becoming a healthy unit that continues to operate today.” He continued, “Perhaps the best experiences in CAP seemed like the worst at the time, wading through the swamps of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, up and down Sideling Hill and the mountains of western Pennsylvania and West Virginia all on search and rescue missions.”
Continuing his commitment of over 30 years of CAP service, Lt. Col. Midkiff is the wing’s director of emergency services. In this position, he has been instrumental in establishing the MDWG Pathfinder program and enhancing the emergency services program throughout wing units. His consistent concentration on education and learning through experience continues to enhance members readiness and effectiveness. He creates opportunities for different program officers and members to work together. Believing that when departments can communicate and collaborate, they achieve a status of quality and excellence which is critical to achieve success in all mission elements.
“I have tried to make good by paying it forward for others.” Midkiff has pursued various senior professional development paths in addition to emergency services including command, leadership and cadet programs. He previously served as the Middle East Region cadet programs development officer and the MER deputy chief of staff for cadet programs.
There are many leadership facets. Midkiff stresses, “A good leader inspires others to rise to their best, is consistent, fair, straightforward, and communicates openly and honestly. Leaders must have a sense of humor. Without it, a person will not get far in any organization. Additionally, a leader must be a lifelong learner. I am convinced that I have the job I have today, because I picked up a book to read for fun.” These experiences and convictions, in part, have made Lt. Col. Midkiff a true asset to the wing’s leadership team.
“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership,
of getting along with people, of getting things done.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States and 5-star general, U.S. Army
Commenting on continuing his volunteer service in CAP, Midkiff remarks, “Beyond the fame, fortune, and glory I would say that I do it because it is something that I love to do. I am currently in my dream job with CAP. Although I have been offered other positions, I am doing what I love best. Training our members for emergency services. I am fortunate in that it is a love that is also shared by other members of my family as well and it is their support that makes it possible.”
Lt. Col. Midkiff’s daughter, Cadet Capt Laura Midkiff, and his wife, 2nd Lt. Bambi Midkiff, are both members of the Carroll Composite Squadron. He continues, “I have many opportunities as a CAP volunteer including sharing the beauty of the Gettysburg battlefield with the International Air Cadet Exchange program cadets visiting the United States and taking advantage of CAP’s many training and professional development opportunities. CAP is great for making memories and friendships that last a lifetime.”
Midkiff is committed to learning and teaching. In addition to CAP, he is a high school history teacher. Attaining degrees in curriculum and instruction, history and secondary education, he has many opportunities to use his expertise both in his personal career and as a member of CAP. Midkiff is also a retired fire firefighter/paramedic who saved hearts and homes. He joined his local volunteer fire department and served 20 years as both a paid and volunteer firefighter/paramedic receiving numerous commendations and recognition during his career and rising to the position of deputy chief at the West Lanham Hills Fire Department and lieutenant with the local community rescue service.
Summing up a leader’s expectation: “Becoming a respected leader is a journey. Respect takes a long time to build but can be lost in the blink of an eye. A leader must constantly evaluate and adapt to each situation. Every situation is different, and a good leader will be able to examine the circumstances and determine what effect those circumstances will have on his/her followers. Finally, a leader actively works to build and maintain relationships with both supervisors and followers. Quality Leadership is everything!”
Capt. Alice Raatjes, CAP
Assistant Public Affairs Officer