By Airman 1st Class Ashlin Federick
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Through its more than 40-year history, Dover International Speedway has always kept a strong relationship with Dover Air Force Base, the track’s neighbor just down the road.
Part of that relationship in recent years has been the participation by some Speedway personnel in the Base’s Honorary Commander program, with Mike Tatoian, executive vice president and COO of Dover Motorsports, Inc., currently serving as the 436th Airlift Wing honorary commander.
Mike Tatoian, executive vice president and COO of Dover Motorsports, Inc.
As part of his participation in that program, Tatoian has been selected to attend the 61st Annual National Security Forum on May 6-8, 2014 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The NSF serves to enhance the Air Force’s relationship with civilian leaders.
“There are a lot of areas where the military is similar to business in the civilian world, such as leadership, decision making skills and management,” said Tatoian. “I am honored to be able to participate in this unique opportunity that not many civilians are able to do. It will give me a better understanding of the military.”
The NSF’s purpose is to broaden the participants’ perspectives and attain a mutual understanding on topics of interest concerning diplomatic information, military, economic and cultural instruments of power in a lecture and seminar environment. It provides attendees the opportunity to share perspectives between key civic leaders, senior military officers and highly-experienced government civilians.
More than 110 business and community leaders are invited each year to attend the secretary of the Air Force-sponsored forum. It allows for open discussions between guests and Air Ware College students, faculty and senior leaders on the international and national security issues impacting the Air Force, the Department of Defense and the nation.
NSF guests tend to be individuals with significant influence in their fields or communities, but who have limited knowledge of the military. They will engage in an exchange of ideas with AWC students, who are all senior Air Force, joint and international officers and government civilians learning to lead at the strategic level.
Tatoian said he is fortunate to be able to work in the sports and entertainment world. He added that the way in which the Air Force deals with national and international security somewhat applies to events at the Speedway, as that also involves protecting a large number of people.
“We may not be protecting the country, but we have our guard up during events such as the Firefly Music Festival and NASCAR race weekends,” said Tatoian. “Anytime you have a mass gathering of people it is an attractive threat. I think it will be a great way to learn how others, who have the same type of challenges as me, are protecting their facilities.”
Tatoian was nominated for the NSF by Col. Rick Moore, 436th AW Commander, because of his active involvement in the Base and surrounding communities. Col. Moore said not only has Tatoian been an honorary commander for three years, he has been a huge Team Dover supporter since he arrived in Delaware seven years ago. Tatoian is always eager to learn all that he can about the Base and the military.
“We’re thrilled to have a member of our team selected for such a prestigious opportunity,” said Col. Moore. “Mr. Tatoian will no doubt be able to add a great deal of perspective to the program, and will hopefully gain a greater understanding of the overall Air Force mission. We’re anxious for him to get back so he can share his experiences with us.”