Robin Bouton

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Robin Bouton is the 413th Flight Test Group’s new process manager at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Her job is to provide continuous process improvement and lessons-learned capabilities to the unit.

Bouton began her career in the active-duty Air Force as a dental assistant for seven years. As a young Airman, before knowing that process improvement existed as a career field or even knowing what it was, she said she always found herself curious to why the Air Force did things in certain ways.

Bouton eventually decided to commission and took on the role of a medical service corps officer, working administration and learning more about the behind-the-scenes details of the mission. She later transitioned to the Air Force Reserve, and while conducting duty at MacDill AFB, Florida, she met a process manager who introduced her to the world of process improvement.

Now, taking on her first position as a process manager, she said she’s eager to learn more about the 413th FTG and help the unit become better.

“I’m very nervous and excited, which, I think, is a good place to be,” she said. “It’s a whole new opportunity, which at some point in my career, I was always nervous and scared of. Now I’m more nervous just to get the ball rolling and started on the right foot.”

Having a medical background, she said she’s aware that she’s stepping into the flying world with very fresh eyes but thinks the idea of process improvement translates across all missions and areas of expertise.

“A process is a process,” she said. “I think if you can understand the basics of that, you can apply and adapt that to any kind of situation. Having that foundation to build off of allows you to step into any organization ... The hardest part is: I’m a very ‘jump in and get it done’ type of person, but it takes time.”

Despite only being a part of the unit for a short period of time, she already amassed some credibility by claiming the top spot in this year’s annual Halloween chili cook-off and winning a trivia contest during a Thanksgiving potluck.

“The chili cook-off — I practiced,” Bouton said. “That was my secret … My poor husband tried chili for a week straight — all different kinds and weighed in on it, so that was process improvement. The trivia — I’d have to say I got lucky, because I didn’t practice for that one.”