photo of Jarid King standing at a King Aerospace podium

Coursework, Fatherhood Bring New Lessons and Perspectives for King Aerospace President

August 8, 2023

King Aerospace President Jarid King grew up around a company that also grew up around him. Just as that company continues to grow and expand its services, Jarid’s life is also taking him in exciting new directions.

That includes the recent completion of the first half of the Cox Executive MBA program at Southern Methodist University. “Even my wife asked me, ‘Why are you going back to school? You’re not changing jobs and you’re not trying to get a promotion! ’” he says. “It just felt like the right time to do it, and a good opportunity to add to and refine the tools that I have in my toolbox.”

The Executive MBA program runs for 21 months over five semesters. So far, Jarid has completed courses in Financial Accounting, Organizational Behavior, Statistics, Decision Modeling, Operations Management, Business Finance, Fundamentals of Marketing, Macroeconomics and Executive Leadership.

That last course, in particular, resonated with Jarid. “Our professor was Tony Bridwell, the chief talent officer for The Encompass Group,” he says. “He also does a lot of training and seminars, but this was his first time teaching an Executive MBA class and he really helped me identify my own leadership skills and processes.

“I learned that leadership isn’t about being an expert in finance or business development,” Jarid continues, “but enabling my team to be collaborative and achieve their very best. It’s my job to foster that.”

One course project required Jarid to develop a commencement speech-style presentation built around three words. He chose courage, compassion, and commitment, “which I also tied to faith,” he notes. “I recorded it, submitted it for my grade and also shared it with Jerry [King, company founder and Jarid’s dad]. He said it was pretty good.”

For his last two semesters in the program, Jarid’s course load includes Microeconomics, Legal Environment of Business, and Applied Corporate Finance.

“Probably what I’ve enjoyed most is being in a class and coming across a lesson that I know can be applied to our business,” he says. “‘That’s something I’ve never really thought about in that way before. How can we adapt it to King Aerospace?’”

Growing Up a King

Finding connections and ideas useful to the company comes naturally to Jarid, going back to his earliest childhood memories that include examining new paint jobs, flashlight in hand, for runs and other defects to be remedied before delivering an aircraft to the customer.

“I also cleaned toilets, walked around military bases and spent two weeks in Brazil as we installed a new interior for their president’s aircraft,” he laughs. “I was in third grade.”

However, Jarid initially saw a slightly different path before him. “Jerry still has a letter in his briefcase I wrote to him when I was in sixth or seventh grade,” he says. “I told him I planned to get degrees in wildlife management and business management first and then come work for him.

“I always wanted to be a part of this company,” he adds, “but I wanted to be sure to earn that place, too. And Jerry actually tried to talk me out of it at first, because this can be a hard business. He didn’t want his son to worry like he once had to about where the next contract – the next meal – was coming from.”

While he still loves hunting and finishing, Jarid soon made the decision to turn his full attention toward working for the company. “One of my first jobs was driving the barbecue truck visiting our customers across the country,” he says. “I also went overseas to Colombia and South Korea, working in the different shops alongside the technicians and painters.”

Jarid also worked in sales, making customer calls and developing relationships with current and prospective customers. “Probably my favorite experience was managing an overhaul and paint for an aircraft owned by [a four-time Super Bowl winning NFL quarterback],” he says.

“It really was a trial by fire, but at the end he marveled that we’d accomplished the first zero-squawk delivery he’d ever seen,” Jarid adds. “That was a huge moment.”

A New Perspective

Of course, even that pales in comparison to another recent milestone for Jarid: becoming a proud first-time father. He and his wife, Haley, welcomed the “on time delivery” of their daughter, Cora James King, in late June.

“It’s been great,” he says. “I’ve never been one who wanted to change diapers, but for my own child it’s no problem. I think I’ve given her every bath she’s had so far, although her mom’s standing there ready to help, too. And Haley’s been an absolute rock star.”

(Young Cora has already made her first official company appearance, too, as an honored guest at the recent Boeing Business Jet Forum sponsored by King Aerospace.)

While Jarid has always worked to embody King Aerospace’s commitment to service to others and to God, Country and Family, parenthood has given him a new perspective on the true importance behind those words.

“I am so looking forward to watching Cora develop and grow and see what the Lord has in store for her,” he says. “At the same time, she’s one more member of our larger King Aerospace family of 400 employees and we also must take care of them, help them accomplish their dreams and always do right for them. It really does open your eyes to the responsibility we all have to one another.”