Expecting the Best, Planning for the Worst

April 21, 2021

“I’ve been to the good, the bad and the ugly,” says John Sullivan, managing partner and co-owner of the security consultancy Welsh Sullivan Group. “King Aerospace is definitely at the top of the good.”

Sullivan recently wrapped up a five-month security assessment of the King Aerospace home office in Addison, TX, and its MRO in Ardmore, OK. His group looked at everything from policies and protocols – and how well they are followed – to how secure physical structures are and what vulnerabilities might exist. It even assessed how international travel is handled for team members. For example, how are hotels and car services vetted?

“We really appreciated the attitude we encountered at King Aerospace,” says Sullivan, who spoke to scores of King team members throughout the enterprise: human resources, management, security, administration, aircraft technicians, mechanics, inspectors and more. “No one got defensive. If anything, they were prying us, asking, ‘What can we do better?’”

Sullivan says he was also impressed by the family culture and the team’s down-home manners. “There’s no ostentatiousness or bragging, but you totally get the sense that everyone there understands the critical roles they play in supporting special-mission and VVIP aircraft. They get that lives depend on them. You sense they find joy and fulfillment in their work yet take it very seriously.”

Finding the Right Partner

King Aerospace management had been looking for someone like the Welsh Sullivan Group when a timely referral led them to the Frisco, TX-based consultancy.

“We were impressed by what they did and also by their bedside manner,” says Jarid King, president. “They are respectful of the systems you have in place, but they give it to you straight without sugarcoating. They consider the smallest things, like how you handle your mail. We weren’t looking for pats on the back, but for an impartial, third-party review. They don’t just point out areas for possible improvement, but also offer suggestions.”

Security at Their Core

Wife Judith Welsh Sullivan serves as co-owner and partner. The couple founded the Welsh Sullivan Group in 2009, which offers security assessments for businesses and business aviation as well as IRS 26 CFR §1.132-5 security studies. John and Judith met at the Secret Service, where both worked for 23 years. “She’s the brains; I’m the brawn,” he says. After retiring from the Secret Service, he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development for two years as assistant inspector general for investigations to combat fraud, waste and abuse in foreign aid programs. That was followed by nine years as the global security director for Texas Instruments (TI), where he was responsible for security at locations in 36 countries and its flight department. Prior to his law enforcement and corporate security career, Sullivan flew in the F4-J Phantom for the Marine Corps as a naval flight officer (NFO). The Welsh Sullivan Group utilizes several retired U.S. Secret Service colleagues to assist with the consultancy’s security assessment projects.

“John’s aviation background was an added draw for us,” says Jarid King. “Both John and Judith know their stuff.”

King Aerospace has already begun reviewing assessment findings, prioritizing recommendations and developing plans for implementation.

“We were impressed by every employee we met,” says Sullivan. “They have a strong security culture and safety-focused workplace. It was a joy to be inside their doors.”


Photo shown above: John Sullivan and Judith Welsh Sullivan met when both worked for the Secret Service. They now own and run a security consultancy.