Fighter Country Partnership is proud to feature Ricky Lyons, Conductor and Enthusiast, Champion. He is an alumni member of the Honorary Commander Program, and a Blue Blazer of Fighter Country Partnership’s Blue Blazer Squadron.
In 1999, Ricky commenced operations of Champion as a real estate development firm located and operating from Scottsdale, Arizona. He capitalized this new entity with a group of partners and a team who brought differing experiences to Champion, enhancing all of its experiences.
Ricky started his career practicing law with Witten Law Firm in Edmonton, Alberta from 1969 to 1983. As a senior partner, he represented Canada’s premier real estate developers, initiating and completing significant real estate transactions throughout western Canada. Projects included acquisition, entitlement, major tenant leasing, financing and (in some cases) sale of the projects. In 1983, Ricky and his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. Prior to the formation of Champion, he developed several other projects in the Phoenix market.
Within Champion, Ricky has created The Champion Advocacy Experiences™, umbrella’d by The Champion Experience™ resulting in Remarkable Delivery™. These “Experiences” are the driving force that in turn empowers Team Champion™ members.
Current projects are located in Gilbert, Chandler and Surprise. This year Champion plans to continue developing pads at Marley Park Square in Surprise, continue its work to act as Owner Representative and Asset Manager for third party owner projects (retail and office and charter and private schools) and QSR, restaurant and single user transactions. More information on their active commercial real estate developments can be found here.
Ricky Lyons was invited by the 56th Fighter Wing Commander to become an Honorary Commander for the 2008-2010 (2-year) term. He was assigned to the 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
His daughter, Alisa Lyons, was already an Honorary Commander assigned to the 56th Training Squadron for the previous term. She had invited Ricky to attend various base events. Ricky became so interested in everything going on at the base that when he was nominated for the Honorary Commander program he jumped at the opportunity. “I did not know anything about Luke AFB prior to Alisa’s appointment as an Honorary Commander,” Ricky said.
“Living in the East Valley, I did not know the significance the base’s mission had on the West Valley, the Valley as a whole, the state of Arizona and National Security.”
“As a developer, we have a significant investment in a commercial development within Marley Park. Alisa was asked to be an Honorary Commander,” Ricky explained. “I was just about to sign a deal to build a daycare center at that location. Then, at Alisa’s induction, I came to understand the critically important mission of Luke and how development on our property with a day care center could have a negative impact on Luke’s ability to perform its mission. The daycare center was located within the noise contours—the Air Installation Compatibility Use Zone. I immediately went to the daycare operator and explained, “We can’t go there.” I got religion!”
“When I received my letter of invitation from the wing commander and found out I was assigned to the 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (756 AMXS), I had no idea what 756 AMXS was. I thought I might be assigned to a fighter squadron. I am glad I wasn’t because I was so privileged to be a member of a maintenance squadron with hundreds of young airmen assigned to keep the F-16’s flying, while training the world’s best crew chiefs. These airmen inspire me. I became friends with many officers in the squadron as well as the airmen and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). It was the largest squadron on base. I am so proud to be their Honorary Commander.”
When asked what one of his most memorable squadron events was as an Honorary Commander he explained, “There was a Large Force Exercise (LFE) taking place at the base and Lt. Col. Timothy Trimmell, my Squadron Commander, invited me watch the launch. I could not attend that launch by the 310th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (part of the 756th Maintenance Squadron) who that day launched 22 of their 26 F-16’s. Amazing! Two months later the 308th AMU volunteered to launch all 26 of their F-16’s in support of another LFE. They did just that, all 26, all within an hour and a half—a very difficult task.
Trim took me to the flight line to watch the F-16s leave one after another and as they did, the he marked down every jet as they departed. Once the last plane had left for the end of the runway the Commander had all of his the Airmen of the AMU take notice. “None of your aircraft are on the ground right now,” he said. “That is a very rare event and you should be very proud.” All 26 F-16’s launched. Amazing and Awesome!
“A great credit to the expertise and excellence that is a hallmark of Luke,” Ricky said.
Ricky is passionate about being an Honorary Commander and is inspired by the camaraderie and formalities of the military.
“There are two things everyone in this country should do,” Ricky said. “See a naturalization ceremony and attend a monthly promotion ceremony. Why? America would be a much better nation if we all understood why people want to move here (as my family did) and what it means to serve this great nation” (Luke AFB has a monthly military promotion ceremony of all Air Force ranks—airmen, NCOs and officers.) “It’s a great thing to watch these military members get promoted. The entire squadrons come out to applaud their people. Every squadron has their own “warrior cry” when their people are announced. It’s a fun and inspiring event.”
“Whenever I go to the base for an event, I am always shaking Airmen’s hands and thanking them for their service,” Ricky said. “I also thank all military, active and veterans I see in the community every chance I get. If I see an Airman at a Starbucks I try to pay for coffee. While it makes me feel good to show my appreciation to the military, it is clear that Airmen appreciate when we speak to them and tell them how important they are to us, especially when it happens in casual places like a coffee shop or stopping them in an airport concourse, just to say thanks”.
Honorary Commander highlights for Ricky include tours of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, a civic leader tour to the U.S. Air Force Academy, flying on a KC-135 mid-air refueler while watching F-16’s get their gas in mid-air, a trip to the Lockheed plant in Dallas to view the F-35 production and, of course, a flight in an F-16 aircraft our of Luke AFB (an honor I will cherish and never forget).
“I would be amiss not to mention two names of key people who worked tirelessly to get the F-35 to Luke AFB and they are Rusty Mitchell and Charley Freericks,” Ricky said. “They deserve a so much credit for their all they did.”
Ricky also tries to integrate his squadron to the community so that they are able to learn more about the area they live.
“I asked my squadron commander to bring several airmen to Champion’s office to meet the entire team,” he explained. “We talked about leadership and team building and learned about the leadership differences and similarities between the military and civilian experiences. After lunch we all went to the Scottsdale Gun Club for an afternoon of shooting. A great time was had by all. It was great to talk and meet with these terrific people outside the fence.”
There are many events and activities they Ricky Lyons either chaired or participated in that make the Blue Blazer Squadron of the Fighter Country Partnership such a success.
These events include:
Chairing the Annual Awards Banquet and Ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel and Resort in Glendale in January 2014; marching in the Fiesta Bowl Parade, attending the Maintenance Professional of the Year Award Banquet, attending more than 10 promotion ceremonies, attending several Air Force Balls, assisting in every FCP golf tournament, attending the Luke Days Open House, and many more events.
“There isn’t a measuring device long enough to provide the length at which Ricky will go to support Luke and its Airmen,” said Ron Sites, President, Fighter Country Partnership. “Ricky’s commitment to supporting Luke AFB through FCP has grown substantially in the past years, which has led to many more added benefits and resources to the Airmen. It is pretty clear to see the effectiveness of Ricky’s role on committees when the Senior Leadership at Luke “wishes” for this type of involvement to continue!”
Ricky concluded by saying, “The best thing about FCP is that this organization will do anything they can to support the men, women and families at Luke AFB and will educate the public about the importance of the mission of training fighter pilots, crew chiefs and mission ready airmen.” The economic impact, the impact on the security of our country and our lives because of the presence and operation of Luke cannot be understated.”