Ret. Major Ernest Urquieta, Superior resident, was invited back to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri by LTC Kevin Golinghorst, Commander and CSM Toby Kammer, 554th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade as guest speaker for over 200 commissioned and Noncommissioned Officers and spouses for their annual Engineer Ball.
Major Urquieta was the guest of honor for this event and his message about leadership, mentorship, influencing and remembering where you come from hit the hearts of soon to be commanders and enlisted leaders during Valentine’s Day weekend.
Urquieta was humbled and excited for the invitation to speak to the group of brigade, battalion and company level leaders a year after retiring following 27 years service to his country.
“It is a complete honor to continue to be able to impact and impart knowledge on leaders,” Urquieta told the Superior Sun, “both men and women! A leader sets the example, leads from the front, focusing on the most precious resource, the sons and daughters of this great country! Being selfless is putting others needs before your own, being a leader is influencing and mentoring others to succeed in any operating environment, while remembering where you come from and what your for.”
Urquieta’s words came from many years of training, successes, failures and numerous combat deployments.
“I never forget how I achieved what I did during my career, from the leaders who saw potential in me, to the Soldiers who gave their lives so I could be here today! What an inspiration to be in a room with the front line of our national defense,” he said.
Urquieta stated no one is perfect, everyone deserves an opportunity. “We don’t always get to choose who’s on the team, as a leader the defining moment is, will those around you, follow you? The answer is simply yes, if you’re authentic and genuine day in and day out, in good and bad days. Never ask someone to do what you will not attempt or have not yet attempted. Being a leader is far more than articulating, it’s doing the right thing when your not being watched. It’s providing others the opportunity to be successful despite flaws and honing in on strengths to build confidence and gain commitment,” he said.
Urquieta plans to continue speaking to military and civilian organizational leaders throughout Arizona, hoping to share experiences, build teams and assist in achieving organizational goals and objectives.
“There is no greater honor than to serve when called upon,” he said. “We all have a inherent responsibility to give to the development of our future leaders.”