King Aerospace: Getting it right
October 6, 2021
General Norman Schwarzkopf said: “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. King Aerospace President Jarid King said this concept – doing everything possible to get it right the first time to avoid problems later – is the basis of everything they do for government and l ‘army. And, he says, it has been since 1992, when his father, President Jerry King, founded the company after getting his first government contract.
“We keep the mission front and center,” King says. “Troops cannot fly if their aircraft is grounded due to a lack of parts or a lack of qualified technicians able to troubleshoot a problem or perform the necessary maintenance. What we do matters and has direct consequences for our brave men and women in uniform around the world. We take action on issues that we encounter so that they are not sent back to others to deal with later.
King Aerospace operates on simple principles with profound results. This includes taking a proactive, no-apology approach. Solve problems and deliver quality in everything. Serve as an honest and trustworthy team partner. As a result, King Aerospace has carved out a reputation for itself as a “program mender,” a company that can turn around struggling programs. It’s done over and over again.
“We frequently find ourselves receiving 911 type distress calls for logistical support from contractors,” says King. “Turnarounds have become something of a specialty: taking an interrupted program and getting it back on track. Customers are so grateful; we find it extremely rewarding.
Go the distance
How does King Aerospace reverse the performance of a degraded program? Not to mention what went wrong, King’s management team shared lessons learned on how they are fixing things. The secret seems to be its culture of responsibility, based on servant leadership. King’s core principles and values go beyond charting the company’s strategic vision. They guide day-to-day operations. People are held accountable, not only by management, but by their peers. Leadership at all levels and open communication support tried and tested methodologies that ensure seamless execution from concept to completion. Every aspect of program management receives the full attention of the team: resources, planning, monitoring and control of quality, costs and risks. Everything takes place in an environment of honesty, trust and respect.
Delivering 24/7 global logistics minimizes aircraft on the ground (AOG) times through King’s highly controlled supply chain, inventory control and delivery. Building on three decades of experience and positive results serving government and military clients has led to a deep pool of lessons learned. King Aerospace has been there and has done it. Customers include Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security. King’s support for corporate and VVIP aircraft, which must meet the highest possible quality levels, further strengthens its ability to meet stringent military specifications.
Honors and recognition include being named US Air Force Entrepreneur of the Year (twice); US Army Entrepreneur of the Year; the best aviation organization of the Ministry of Energy; the outstanding regional prime contractor of the Small Business Administration; and the Joseph P. Cribbins Department of the Army Aviation Association of the Army Aviation Association. His performance ratings consistently exceed expectations.
Try the challenge
As a retired Master Chief of the US Navy with 30 years of service, Steve Sawyer is responsible for King’s Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) program for the Army’s Special Electronic Mission (SEMA) aircraft. American as a subcontractor for Northrop Grumman. Contract provides critical life cycle services to a fleet of 68 highly modified King Air (C-12), De Havilland Canada Dash 7 (DHC-7) and Dash 8 (DHC-8) turboprop aircraft used for intelligence , surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The contract was awarded in 2017 with options extending until 2026.
In 2020, Sawyer oversaw an explosive growth of the SEMA program. King’s oversight has expanded to include eight additional locations nationwide and five new international locations. Additional operations directly support the efforts of four Ministry of Defense combat commands: EUCOM, SOUTHCOM, PACOM and AFRICOM. King has accepted the responsibility of taking over 12 of these new locations in just 30 days. Sawyer was part of the management team visiting the new national sites in person and, due to COVID-19 protocols, videoconferencing to virtually onboard over 200 new highly skilled and specialized hires.
“I’m surrounded by good people and we had a good plan,” says Sawyer. “To create a feeling of family, you have to go out into the field, meet people individually, listen attentively and act when necessary. ”
Only by recognizing and respecting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, says Sawyer, can people come together as a strong, cohesive, and high performing team. Onboarding team members from around the world takes a deep dive into our no-apologies culture and helps empowered team members understand their why or purpose. Sawyer continues to travel once or twice a month as part of his efforts to “listen to the field” and “lean forward”. You can read more about his thoughts on King Kulture here.
Live a life of service
“We have a long way to go and an important mission that requires 24/7 support,” says Sawyer. “But it’s like being in the armed forces. It is a life of service. You figure out how to balance it out. You cherish your family time. It is sacred.
“It takes humility and honesty to grow and improve,” he says. “Even with all the expansion and growth, we are continually getting wins. The evolution of this program has been difficult, but also extremely rewarding.
King Kulture is expressed in different words, but the meaning reflects much of the philosophy of the Navy. King’s “God, country and family” runs through the unofficial motto of the Navy: “Non sibi sed patriae” or “Not for oneself, but for the country”.
“Aircraft maintenance demands excellence, efficiency and effectiveness for all customers, but especially for the US military and government,” said Greg Mitchell, vice president of government services for King Aerospace. “We approach each project as a critical mission and as a means of fulfilling our duty as a patriot. ”