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AFCEA Personality Profile: Lt. Col. Jay Kanavos, USAF (Ret.)

February 15, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections
E-mail About the Author

Lt. Col. Jay Kanavos, USAF (Ret.), brings two totally opposite perspectives to his participation in AFCEA’s Lexington-Concord Chapter: from the air and from the ground. While in the Air Force, he enjoyed jumping out of planes. In fact, he was the only Air Force member in his class at the Army Airborne School and subsequently made 32 jumps out of various Air Force, Marine Corps and Army aircraft as a member of the special operations community. Now, as an acquisition specialist at ManTech International Corporation, he enjoys being a local scoutmaster, hiking and camping in the mountains of New Hampshire with the young men of Boy Scout Troop 303.

And, as far as AFCEA is concerned, Col. Kanavos definitely has two feet on the ground now. He was a member of AFCEA while in the service for 20 years but admits that he gradually left the association after retiring. As his career shifted back to working with the military community, his supervisor at ManTech, Keith Taylor, encouraged him to rejoin the AFCEA community. The colonel realized that belonging to AFCEA would enable him not only to help the military but also his local community, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

As a member of the Lexington-Concord Chapter for the past eight years, Col. Kanavos has had the opportunity to take the lead in the chapter’s Science Teaching Tools projects. As a result, he’s enjoyed working with a number of local schools to help them receive AFCEA grants. He also has developed relationships with both military and civilian personnel at Hanscom Air Force Base, which help him understand their challenges and meet their needs. In addition, Col. Kanavos has been taking advantage of the seminars the chapter offers so he can stay abreast of the military community and technology trends.

At ManTech, the colonel has served as a task lead supporting the implementation of a Ka-band satellite communications terminal on the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. Now, he is leading the Commanders’ Action Group supporting the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals team for the company. He completes congressional Selective Acquisition Reports and Defense Acquisition Executive summaries and provides acquisition expertise to senior members of the team.

I know it sound cliché, but the person I admire the most is my wife Michelle. She has always been there supporting me and gave up a lot to be a military wife moving around the world and never being able to have an established career in one place. Just prior to retiring, she completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing, and after we retired, she got her master's degree and became a nurse practitioner,” Col. Kanavos shares. “She has always placed family first and taught me that no matter what the obstacles, with perseverance and conviction, the difficult and what seems impossible can be achieved.”