AOTW: Master of craftsmanship

  • Published
  • By Airman Jared Lovett
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A civilian employee from the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron paint and sign shop was named Airlifter of the Week May 27, 2021, for his innovation and creativity. 

Michael Heinz, the shop supervisor, has been working at the shop for more than 30 years. During that time he hasn’t stopped looking for ways to innovate.

“Since we have the opportunity to produce everything in the best quality at the paint shop, it is important to me to deliver the best possible quality to the customers at the air base and to keep them satisfied,” said Heinz. 

Heinz leads the team that builds and designs traffic signs, paints buildings and marks the roads all over base.

“He is an amazing leader,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Sumstine, 786 CES carpenter shop non-commissioned officer in charge. “He has 19 people that work on his team that do amazing work. A lot of it comes from his vision and his ability to make a product come to life and see that it’s done well.”

Heinz was recently tasked by wing leaders to design three quarterly awards boards to be displayed in the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center. 

While most awards boards on base are made from wood and are small, Heinz’s boards are the first-of-their-kind.

The plexiglass boards are a testament to the technical abilities of him and his team. Thanks to the skills of Heinz, recognition will be given to those who display Ramstein’s best, for all to see.

“It’s a great showcasing item for all three wings on base and something we’re all proud of,” said Sumstine. “His abilities to design and put it all together has been a big inspiration for the shop.” 

When Heinz, a Rheinland-Pfalz native, is not at the paint and sign shop, he enjoys spending his free time hiking with his dog, a black Labrador named Sam.

Heinz is also working towards receiving his Painter’s Master’s Degree, which will certify him to train others at the shop.

“For me, it is important to contribute to young people getting a good start in their working life, and to enable this through training at the paint shop,” said Heinz. “This ensures the quality of work in the paint shop and at the 786th CES for future generations.”