Palm Coast - Although the City of Palm Coast will be the beginning of Matthew Mancill's civilian career, the City's new Director of Public Works has the experience, aptitude and leadership skills needed for his new position thanks to a career in the United States Air Force.

In 1996, with the support of his loving wife Dianna, Mancill entered military life only two weeks after the two were married. Years later, in his farewell address, he would say that he had, "joined the Air Force in order to marry his wife and to have a job"-a couple of facts that made his father-in-law very happy.

Mancill's Air Force career spanned 23 years and took him and his family around the world with stops in Nevada, South Korea, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Idaho, Tokyo, Virginia and Georgia.

He attained the rank of Command Chief Master Sergeant and, at his last post, served as the "senior enlisted advisor to the Commander on matters influencing the readiness, morale, welfare, training, discipline, effective utilization, professional development, and force structure for the 1,500 assigned personnel across two groups and seven squadrons."

Along the way, Mancill says that he learned the importance of taking care of the people around him and under his command.

The Mancills' path in life was not always easy. At times, it required a great deal of sacrifice because of both the work and the distance. Having spent many months in different areas of the world, the family remained strong and unified as a support system for one another, never losing sight of the most important thing in their lives: family.

At the time he entered the Air Force, Mancill also noted that he "wanted to avoid needing to go to college." So, he began to do vehicle maintenance, which was already very much part of his wheelhouse at the time. It was a role he was very comfortable in and he didn't really see the need to continue with school.

How things have changed.

Three associate degrees, one bachelor's degree and a master's degree later, Mancill is now pursuing the civilian part of his life by combining the extensive leadership skills that come from his military background along with the technical training derived from a love of traditional education he didn't find until later in life. 

The transition from working on engines to running the Public Works of a City of almost 100,000 people doesn't just happen overnight. Mancill's advanced formal education started in the likely areas of Vehicle Maintenance Management and Airman Leadership School but slowly transitioned into higher management areas, including a Bachelor of Science in Management/Human Resources from Park University and a Master of Arts in Procurement and Acquisition Management from Webster University.

Along the way, Mancill has learned to lead by example and, moreover, to lead in such a way as to ensure the lessons he's teaching don't end with him.

"Pay it Forward Leaders," according to Mancill, are people who invest time and resources into the next generation of leadership. They do so graciously, intentionally and often sacrificially. There are no stereotypes, just a leader bridging the gaps between one generation and another.

Mancill's experiences in the military were filled with this type of leader who taught him what true leaders do for their personnel and how to become the example others look up to for guidance.

Having spent his life in service to his country and to others, Mancill is dedicated to doing more and to truly making a difference here in Palm Coast-leaving whatever he finds better than when he found it.

"This job allows me to continue to serve my community at the local level," Mancill said. "Specifically with Public Works, I enjoy having the opportunity to work with the people who work behind the scenes to keep this City running day in and day out."

On August 16, the country and its Air Force said goodbye to a great leader but the City of Palm Coast will be the beneficiary. Thankfully, Mancill's style of encouragement and empowerment taught many airmen to carry on in his absence.

When retiring from the military, one can usually choose where to live but struggle to transition into a civilian job. Others may find the job but never truly find the place to truly call home. The Mancill Family is happy to have both in Palm Coast-a great place to live and a fantastic place to work and lead.