Oct. 18, 2013 –Located in the international city, Warner Robins, is one of the state’s largest employers: Robins Air Force Base. At this facility, a Fort Valley State University alum is leading one of the base’s more instrumental programs in support of our nation’s defense. This month, Darryl Turner, a 1984 Wildcat graduate is our featured spotlight alumnus. Turner is currently the lead contracting official for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) program.
Turner is a Columbus, Ga. native. After graduating from high school, one of his favorite relatives asked him to attend college at Fort Valley State.
“I matriculated to FVSU in the fall of 1980, at the behest of my favorite uncle, Dr. McDonald Huff,” said Turner. “He was an esteemed alum. Both he and his wife, Jeanette, were administrators at the university. They have since retired, and McDonald passed away a few years ago.”
Turner learned important lessons in leadership, scholarship and hard work that would help him succeed later in professional and personal life. As a college student, he majored in business administration, with a marketing concentration. On the campus, he also met his future wife, Stephanie. In 1984, Turner received his bachelor’s degree and graduated cum laude. He married his college sweetheart a year later.
“Once I graduated, I spent a short time in the Atlanta area before taking a job at Robins Air Force Base,” the alum said. “My time at FVSU is very influential in who I am today, how I execute my job and interface with the community.”
Turner’s work ethic earned him promotion after promotion at the base. Officials later named him as the lead contracting official for the Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS, a U.S. Air Force Battle Management and Control aircraft. It tracks ground vehicles, airplanes, collects imagery of these objects and relays them to military officers. He celebrated his 29th year with Robins on Oct. 4.
“I have had the enormous opportunity to travel abroad, visiting Europe on four separate occasions,” he said. “I’ve visited Hawaii twice, and crisscrossed the United States frequently in support of various programs within the Department of Defense.”
Outside of his busy job, Turner still finds time to support his beloved alma mater as a life-member of the FVSU National Alumni Association, Inc., and active participant with the FVSU Warner Robins Area Alumni Chapter or WRAAC. He served in various leadership positions at the local organization: president-elect from 2003 to 2004, president from 2005 to 2006, immediate past president from 2007 to 2008, and membership and communications chairs since then. Additionally, Turner served onFVSU’s National Alumni Board from 2007 to 2008.
“It was one of the highlights of my life,” the RAFB employee said. As the FVSU WRAACpresident, Turner, and other board members, helped to initiate the process leading to the full endowment of two of the chapter’s three scholarships: the Warner Robins Area Alumni, the Computers for Education and the Eugene Leverson scholarships. WRAACalso donated $10,000 to the FVSU Foundation, Inc. to support scholarships. The chapter was also instrumental in FVSU’s inclusion in the Middle Georgia Combined Federal Campaign, a charitable/philanthropic program supported by employees at several federal agencies through Middle Georgia.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to lead the alumni organization,” Turner said. “It gave me a chance to keep things in prospective and build bridges between the university and Houston County. However, we still face major challenges within the national alumni association. There are not enough FVSU alumni chapters across the country, even though we have thousands of graduates. There’s also not enough of our graduates actively involved with the association. We (alums) need to become engaged.”
Turner has also sent his children to attend FVSU. His daughter Siarra graduated in just three years as the class valedictorian in 2008. She recently completed her MFA from Murray State University and is currently employed at the Social Security Administration. His son, Mario, is a current FVSU student.
Turner gives this advice for Wildcat students.
“Do not get discouraged,” he advised. “Your time at FVSU will be challenging, but just stay the course, because you can accomplish great things. Once you graduate with your degree from FVSU, you can go anywhere you want to go in the world. Take what you have learned from FVSU and travel the world. And as you grow and prosper, always remember your alma mater.”
Turner is also encouraged by Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith’s leadership of the university.
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Dr. Griffith during the last week of September when he visited WRAAC,” said Turner. “Presidents come and go, but I wanted to know if he was really invested in the future of our university. I believe he will be a great leader for FVSU. I am very happy with his leadership thus far, absolutely pleased. His leadership and vision should prove beneficial in getting FVSU to the next level.” Go Wildcats!
Christina D. Milton,writer
Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
(478) 825-6319, email@example.com