Honorary Commander spotlight - Roger Erickson

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

The 115th Fighter Wing (FW) Honorary Commander 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.

Roger Erickson is the Senior Vice President of Oregon Community Bank and he also serves as the Honorary Commander of the 115th FW Communications Flight.  The activities of the Communication Flight comprise of the management, administration, operation and security of communication and cyberspace systems at the base.

“As we look at the increasing importance of cyber security not only in the military realm, but also in the financial industry, there is a definite correlation between our career fields where we can learn from each other.  In addition, Roger’s years of leadership expertise is invaluable and this has led to an ideal partnership and amazing opportunity to learn from such a pillar in our community.” said Major Keith Hofkens, commander of the 115th Communication Squadron.

The feeling seems to be mutual.  Erickson recognizes the impact that the 115th FW brings to the community and the importance of community knowledge of the unit’s missions.

“I love talking to people about the various missions the 115th performs.  Whether it be emergency communications and cyber-attack response capabilities for local domestic operations or the readiness and operational support provided for our national security – their active role in our continued safety both home and abroad is astounding and often overlooked.  There is also a lack of knowledge of the economic benefit the 115th brings.  Most people don't know that the base has been in Madison for 70 years,” Erickson said.

 What is the favorite part of your job?

“Being a banker for more than 45 years, I have helped many families with homeownership.  Whether it is to educate young families on their first home purchase to new home construction.  I have worked basically in every aspect of banking.  This background allows me to assist our customers with all their financial needs.”

What advice would you give to young leaders?

Be committed.  Be dedicated.  Perform.  Do more than what is expected. Failure is just a part of learning.   Be part of the team and when the team succeeds, so do you!

Advice to someone starting in your career field?

Absorb as much knowledge as possible from your co-workers and ask the "why" to be able to learn more.  Be willing to step out of your comfort zone to help yourself grow.

What is a valuable aspect of your partnership with the 115th FW?

Being able to help spread word about the mission of the 115th Fighter Wing.  So many people still don't know what the 115th Fighter Wing brings to our country, state and local communities. 

What is the one quality that best describes you?

I am a hard working team player.  I care about our customer and our employees.

What has been a highlight or significant accomplishment of your professional career?

Being recognized nationally, regionally, and locally for my contributions in help financing the American dream of homeownership. I proud to have help provide over $800,000,000 in financing the American Dream during my 45-year career. I was also fortunate to be chosen to participate in Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago's "Mortgage Partnership Finance" pilot program; an alternative to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for banks.