Kevin Geiss leads Air Force toward energy efficiency

Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant secretary for energy, Air Force

wfedstaff | April 17, 2015 5:03 pm

As the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for energy, Kevin T. Geiss put together a strategic plan to reduce the service’s fuel usage, resulting in $1 billion in savings.

That’s a pretty big deal, considering the Air Force is the federal government’s largest consumer of energy.

“No single individual has had more influence and impact in improving the Air Force’s energy posture than Kevin Geiss,” said Kathleen Ferguson, the acting assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics at the Air Force.

Dr. Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant secretary for energy, Air Force
She added that Geiss’ efforts helped to make the service more energy secure and independent.

In recognition of these achievements, the Partnership for Public Service named Geiss as one of its 2013 Service to America Medal finalists in its Management Excellence category.


The award honors federal employees who show “superior leadership and management excellence” through a contribution that demonstrates “efficient, effective and results-oriented government.”

Geiss recently appeared on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp to talk about his achievements in energy efficiency.

Geiss also answered the following questions about himself and his career in the federal government.

What three words best describe your leadership philosophy?
Capable, Resilient, Accessible
Capable – Know yourself (strengths, skills and challenges);
Resilient – Know the terrain (e.g. environment, workplace culture) and the opportunities presented by it;
Accessible – Know your people (and let them know you).

What’s the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
“Do well in the job you’re in” – given by an Air Force mentor. The perspective I drew from this was that long-term goals are useful but beware the trap of aspirations that could distract you from making a true difference today.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Their dedication to the mission at home and around the world is what inspires me to do my part to help enable them to be more effective and efficient.

What’s the last thing you read and what’s next on your reading list?
“The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. I read this in preparation for an upcoming trip to Gettysburg I am making with guys from my old Marine unit where we’ll spend a few days walking the battlefield’s hallowed grounds (one of those bucket list items). Next – finish Colin Powell’s book “It Worked for Me: In life and Leadership”

What’s your favorite bureaucratic phrase?
I can’t recall one specifically, but I believe it was once said that the bad thing about bureaucracy is that it works slow; and the good thing about bureaucracy is that it works slow. Certainly something to ponder being a bureaucrat myself.

The Management Excellence Medal is just one of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) presented annually by the Partnership for Public Service. View a gallery of all the Sammies nominees here.