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School of Professional Studies Student and United States Air Force Airman Shares His Experiences

SPS is proud to share stories and lessons from faculty members and students who are veterans or currently active in the U.S. military

SPS military student Jason Gallimore and his wife
Jason Gallimore is a Major in the U.S. Air Force; he currently serves in the Reserves. He works as a Senior Project Manager for Duke Energy, and he is a student in SPS’s Project Management program.

As a Senior Project Manager at Duke Energy specializing in Solar Project Management and Controls, Jason Gallimore knows how to run and coordinate large scale projects. It’s professional experience across people and processes that he perfected across almost 20 years as an Airman in the United States Air Force. 

An Air Force Major who, today, serves in the Reserves, Gallimore shares what brought him to the military, the lessons learned, and how his military experience intersects with his career and his work in the SPS Project Management program. 

Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies (SPS): You’re a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, so was a career in the military something you knew you wanted to pursue at a young age? 

Jason Gallimore (JG): Actually, no. I ended up at the Air Force Academy in a bit of an odd way. I attended Parkland High in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and I had no thought of joining the military until my senior year. I ended up enlisting in the Air Force and served as a mechanic on F-15 fighter jets for my first 18 months in the military. While enlisted, I went to the base education office to find out about GI Bill benefits. A counselor told me about a program where enlisted members could apply to the Air Force Academy if he or she is endorsed by the Group Commander because they allot approximately 30-40 slots a year at the Air Force Academy to “prior enlisted” candidates. 

SPS: How, when, why inspired or drove you to pursue it? 

JG: September 11, 2001 did play a role in my decision, but I just knew I wasn’t headed in the right direction during my senior year of high school. A mentor brought me to an Air Force base and showed me what military life would be like. After that trip, I decided to pursue at least four years in the military. 19 years later, I am still in the reserve.
SPS Student Jason Gallimore

SPS: Do you come from a military or service-focused family? 

JG: Not really. It caught most of my family off guard when I decided to join. My late grandfather was in the Army for a few years, but I don’t know a lot of information about his experience(s). That being said, my mom was a public school teacher for Winston-Salem (Forsyth County) for 40 years.

SPS: What are one or two of your stand-out memories or experiences from your Air Force education or experiences? 

JG: Achieving my parachutist badge for five free-fall jumps as well as deployments to Antarctica, New Zealand, and Diego Garcia.

SPS: What were some of the first and/or most timeless or memorable lessons from your service? 

JG: People make or break you. Get to know your people and know more than their name and rank. Also, humility is key. As a junior officer, your senior enlisted leadership can sink or swim you. Be willing to admit that you don’t know something and that you need to lean on others with more experience to be successful.

SPS Student Jason Gallimore

SPS: How does your Air Force experience impact your work in project management today?

JG: My Air Force experience impacts my work In a major way. In the Air Force, I was/am an aircraft maintenance director. There is an extremely high level of planning and project management that goes into maintaining a healthy and safe fleet of airplanes as well as all the people and equipment that support it. I also feel that the “get it done” mentality instilled in me in the Air Force shines through in project management at Duke Energy.

SPS: Is there a through line or middle path in project management that you learned during your time in the service that came up again during your certificate program education at WFU SPS? 

JG: Something I experienced in the Air Force that also resonates in my SPS coursework is finding solutions and compromise. More specifically, in the Negotiations course, we have to negotiate with another student on multiple occasions. Each student is given a private set of data with what they need to achieve during the negotiation and then the students enter into the negotiation. To get to a deal, there has to be give and take, and I found that that was needed when leading troops in the Air Force, as well.

To learn more about SPS programming and to connect with a staff member about options for members of the military or veterans, please contact us

*The appearance of the United States Air Force visual information does not imply or constitute DOD or Air Force endorsement.

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