Oklahoma Army National Guard’s MSG Nikki Shultz helps form Soldiers into officers. She can also form turkey slices into a mean club sandwich.
Lead instructor for the Officer Candidate Preparation Course (OCPC) at the Oklahoma Regional Training Institute (OKRTI) in Oklahoma City, MSG Shultz is a woman of many talents. She faithfully executes her duties at the OKRTI not only as the lead instructor and planner for the OCPC, she is also the institute’s lead medic and heads up the team of medics that accompany Oklahoma Guard Soldiers on training missions.
“I love helping people,” remarked MSG Shultz. “With the officer [candidate] program, if they make it through, they’ll actually lead companies, and these medics help save people’s lives. I love knowing the fact that I am training other Soldiers to [do those things]. I take a lot of pride in that. It means a lot.”
While MSG Shultz may be driven by her need to help others, she’s also no-nonsense. That was noted by fellow Soldier and former co-worker, SSG Stephanie Foster. The two no longer work in the same unit, but have remained friends. SSG Foster described MSG Shultz as easygoing, but very disciplined.
“She’s been a great example,” SSG Foster said. “She’s just very much on it. She has a lot of discipline in herself and she expects that from her Soldiers too. She’s not a pushover by any means, but she’s not just a complete hard case either. It’s right in the middle of that.”
SSG Foster was assigned to the OKRTI when MSG Shultz was tasked with ramping up the OCPC. MSG Shultz was responsible for structuring the program from the ground up. She took full ownership of the program’s creation and formed it to be what it is today.
“She did a fantastic job with it,” SSG Foster said. “[Before she took over] it really was just kind of cobbled together. She took it and made an SOP [standard operating procedure], organized it, made a training schedule and really made it into a true training program.”
Outside of the Guard, MSG Shultz displays the same level of focus and discipline she displays within the Guard. Discipline is the only way to manage a lifestyle as busy as hers. She is a wife, a mother of five – with ages ranging from 10 years to nine months – the owner of three businesses, a city council board member and the chairman of her town’s Parks and Recreation committee.
It is an impressive amount to juggle, but it’s the lifestyle she and her husband of 10 years, Chad Shultz, enjoy. She laughed when asked about the balancing act and made a simple statement.
“Well, we’re busy all the time,” she said.
When managing her businesses, MSG Shultz admits that she uses many of the same leadership qualities required to perform her job in the Army National Guard. In her hometown of Tonkawa, a small community of about 3,000 people in north-central Oklahoma, MSG Shultz and her husband used their combined entrepreneurial spirit to create Heartland Real Estate and Auction, Heartland Tee’s, and Alewa Deli – a real estate company, t-shirt production business and deli, respectively.
“We’ve got good hours,” MSG Schultz said “We chose businesses that would still give us time with our children, because we like to coach their sports and spend a lot of time with them taking them to do things.”
MSG Shultz’s first business endeavor was starting the real estate company.
“It’s Tonkawa,” MSG Shultz noted. “It’s so small. We’re a family realty [company]. We’re not a Century 21 or a Coldwell Bankers. It’s kind of up and down. We’re busy for a couple of weeks and then we’ll go for a couple months and we won’t be busy.”
Heartland Tee’s was something the couple started about six months after starting the real estate company. It just kind of exploded, MSG Shultz said.
“For the shirt [production], I ended up picking up all the athletic teams’ jerseys and shirts,” she explained. “I supply for all the local Little League teams. I supply for basketball, baseball, football and soccer teams.”
MSG Shultz commented that only Alewa Deli has set hours – 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The deli was originally purchased by Chad Shultz’s parents in 2004. When the parents were ready to sell, the younger Shultz couple was not ready to buy. MSG Shultz was still serving what would ultimately be 12 years as an active duty Soldier, and they were living out of State in Missouri. By 2018, things had changed. MSG Shultz had separated from active duty and transitioned her service to the Oklahoma Army National Guard. She and her family were back in Tonkawa with two successful businesses – they were finally in a position to buy the deli from the people who had bought it from Shultz’s parents.
According to MSG Shultz, Alewa Deli is their busiest business, with about 50 customers a day. She said the deli provides customers with a “cool, clean, mellow atmosphere.” Various road signs hang on the wall and sometimes the older kids help out with clearing and wiping down the tables.
MSG Shultz’s initiative and drive have served her well in building her multiple businesses. Her Family is slowly growing those endeavors and she wants that trend to continue. Her businesses and the Guard, however, are not the only areas into which she places her initiative and drive. She also works hard giving back to her community by volunteering on Tonkawa’s Parks and Recreation advisory committee.
“I’m actually the chairman of the Parks and Rec and we just built a new huge splash pad for our town,” MSG Shultz remarked. “It’s pretty awesome. We’re working on a swimming pool. It’s really growing. When I talk to people in real estate, most people ask, ‘How are the schools and parks?’ I’m involved in both.”
SSG Foster said she believes MSG Shultz’s professionalism and organizational skills are two of the traits that make her a great asset both inside and outside the Army National Guard.
“She’s very fair and extremely professional,” SSG Foster commented. “Her top [trait] is professional above all else. She definitely cares a lot about the Soldiers underneath her, around her, above her. Whatever position she’s in, she wants to make it better.”
Like many of her fellow Soldiers, MSG Shultz wears many hats serving in the Guard, in her family and in her community. She believes in contributing to the world around her.
With the help of her Family, MSG Shultz continues to give back to the community she calls home. Whether she is supplying a local sports team with new team shirts, making citizens mouthwatering turkey sandwiches, building playgrounds, helping local families buy new homes or teaching Soldiers how to lead in protecting those same families and their homes from disaster, MSG Shultz is always ready and always there.
It is something that has not gone unnoticed by those around her. As noted by SSG Foster, “She really is an example of what right looks like.”
by Staff Writer Matthew Liptak