By Airman 1st Class William Tracy
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Lane Meidinger knew landlocked Colorado was going to be a stark difference from working on a small fishing boat off the turbulent Bering Sea as a marine observer, but she accepted the challenge.
“I love being a leader and making a difference,” Meidinger said. “I’m always looking to broaden my horizons.”
She now serves as Schriever’s new chief of the Environmental Management Element with the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron.
Ever since she was a child, Meidinger loved nature. Growing up in southern Alabama, she and her friends would spend their free time exploring the state’s wooded forests and observing its inhabitants.
“That’s how we entertained ourselves,” she said. “Trekking through the woods, camping, canoeing and fishing. All that good stuff. I’ve always been very in tuned with nature.”
This passion would carry on into her adulthood.
Earning her Masters of Environmental Management, Meidinger sought to take her work to the frontlines, soon finding herself on a boat with three other fishermen, navigating the coast of Alaska.
While her work was vital in ensuring fishing regulations were met, she said it did not come without its challenges.
“It was an adventure,” she said. “You had to think outside the box while living out in the Bering Sea for weeks at a time. Somedays, I had to tie myself up to the mast in the middle of the boat because the seas were so rough, I could be thrown overboard studying fish.
“The whole experience was eye opening,” she continued. “It helped make me the independent person I am today.”
Far from the sea at Schriever AFB, Meidinger said she has developed plans for the element in her new leadership role. While she has only served in this role for a few months, she has already expressed her vision for the element’s development on base, including expanding community outreach, archaeological research and renewed site surveys.
“These plans are huge for us and the work we are doing, and will positively impact the base as well,” she said. “We are looking forward to ramping up these programs, and we are developing a great team.”
Meidinger shared her vision: to uphold a commitment to the environment where integrity leads, honesty is effortless, reliability is constant and positivity always ensues.
“I’ve always held onto this vision regardless of what job I have,” she said. “Integrity, honesty, reliability and positivity, they all go hand-in-hand, but each projects a different ideal. Each makes our mission more effective.”
Schriever AFB’s diverse ecosystem, which features prairie dogs, antelope, burrowing owls and rattlesnakes as well as various types of flowers and cacti, presents a new opportunity for Meidinger to expand her nature knowledge.
Added to this are new considerations such as wildland management in case of fires, and local community outreach to tribes in the area.
“I love the mountains and prairies, it’s a different type of natural environment with a different set of challenges,” she said. “It’s definitely a learning experience.”
Meidinger’s coworkers expressed confidence she would be able to make the program prosper and fulfill her vision.
“We work with her on a regular basis, and she has displayed great work ethic,” said Zakary Payne, engineering flight chief with the 50th CES, who coordinates with Meidinger and the element on many large scale projects. “She has a lot of environmental experience and has proven to be an immediate benefit for the squadron.”
Meidinger highlighted her excitement to implement her core values and help Schriever AFB’s environment continue to thrive.
“It’s pretty awesome to be chief of the environmental element here,” she said. “It was my ultimate goal, and it’s a great opportunity. Through integrity, honesty, reliability and positivity, I can ensure our mission runs smoothly, and the element can really step up and go above and beyond.”
Payne shared this optimism for the future.
“She brings a great attitude to the position,” he said. “Her personality and passion for the job will take the element far.”