Honorary Commander spotlight - Erik Leslie

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

The 115th Fighter Wing (FW) Honorary Commanders Program is a partnership that links military commanders with business leaders in the local community.  These relationships provide an 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 Wisconsin Air National Guard to connect with and educate the public on the important missions of the 115th FW.

Erik Leslie is the owner and CEO of Tailwind Ventures, a title research, abstracting and real estate document retrieval company and he currently serves as the honorary commander of the 115th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS).  He is no stranger to the military world.  His father served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Vietnam Veteran, a part of his family legacy that he values and influenced his commitment to give back as an honorary commander.  

Through this partnership with Maj. Thomas Bauer, 115th FW LRS commander, a unique and insightful friendship has formed between the two leaders. 

“As an LRS commander, it is my responsibility to ensure every 115th FW member is provided fuel, vehicles and supplies needed to protect our interests both locally and abroad,” Bauer said.

“Developing a mentoring relationship with someone like Erik has been a great management tool for me.  Although our day-to-day tasks are very different, I have learned that he faces similar leadership challenges as I do in the military.  It has been a great opportunity to learn and gain leadership insight from his perspective as a business owner,” he added.


Q: What is the favorite part of your job?

I love being my own boss.  Even though it comes with a great deal of stress and responsibility, it is also very rewarding to see the business grow and to employ other families.

Q: What leadership advice would you give to young leaders?

Do what makes you happy and fulfilled.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in your career field?

Have patience and stick to it.  There will be many challenges before you are able to reap the benefits of your hard work!

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

I admire the responsibility and support that is evident in the organization.  It is a brotherhood and bond that no other organization has.

Q: What is one quality that best describes you?

Punctuality. I got this from my father who was a Marine (Vietnam Vet). If you’re not ten minutes early, you’re late!

Q: What has been a highlight in your professional career?

Being able to hire more employees and having the opportunity to support multiple families with a business that you started from scratch

Not all wingman wear uniforms...