Honorary Commander spotlight - Deb Archer

  • Published
  • By Maj. Penny A. Ripperger
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 115th Fighter Wing Honorary Commanders Program is an innovative program that links military commanders with business leaders in the local community. These relationships provides the opportunity for both military and civilian professionals to gain valuable insight and perspectives of different organizations. The program also serves as a vital link for the Wis. Air National Guard to connect with and educate the public on the important missions of the 115th FW.

This month’s featured honorary commander is Deb Archer.  Archer is the President and CEO of the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau and Madison Area Sports Commission.   Archer currently serves as the honorary commander of the 115th Force Support Squadron.  Through this partnership, she offers a myriad of leadership experiences, to include overseeing a combined staff of 35 with a budget of $6.1 million, and offers valuable insight to her military counterparts in FSS.

“Developing a relationship with Mrs. Archer has been an incredible experience.  She’s approachable and has a tremendous ability to effectively lead, while incorporating her program management skills.  It has been a pleasure to get to know her and as a fairly new resident of Wisconsin, she has helped me connect and develop important contacts in the Madison community,” said Maj. Penny Ripperger, 115th FSS commander. 

Her dynamic engagement includes interactions with local leadership on several potential area projects, including the Nolen Waterfront, Alliant Energy Center reimagining and the Together Truax initiative.  In addition, she was recently recognized as one of In Business magazine’s Women of Industry and 15 Most Influential Business Leaders of 2017.  

Q: What is your favorite thing about your position?

Presenting and promoting this great city and region is exhilarating and daunting at the same time. I am typically grinning ear-to-ear when I have the opportunity to welcome someone to Madison for the first time or, describe this great place to someone considering this place for an event.

Q: What leadership advice would you give young leaders?

Trust and transparency are most important when leading. If you are accessible and transparent with people, they will trust you.

Q: Is there any advice you would give to a person who is just starting out in your chosen career?

The tourism industry is not really about travel and visitors. It's about economic development and sharing the quality of life attributes that are appealing to current and future residents and visitors.

Q: What is a valuable aspect of your partnership with the 115th  Fighter Wing?

Supporting the 115th is both a personal and professional opportunity. I believe strongly in a strategic and strong military and, the 115th Fighter Wing is one of the foundations for Dane County Regional Airport, which is critical to our community's future.

Q: What is the one quality that best describes you?

I am grateful I was born with an enthusiastic and compassionate nature. Both traits have served me well throughout my life.

Q: Which animal would make the best type of president if the animal kingdom ever rises up and takes over? Why?

I have always believed that giraffes are the greatest creatures on earth. They are graceful and their tall stature allows them to survey their surroundings. They also understand that using only those resources that are natural are best for this earth.

Not all wingmen wear uniforms...