King Kulture Chronicles: Setting Up KACC Arkansas

March 13, 2024

King Kulture Chronicles: Setting Up KACC Arkansas

Working at King Aerospace can be a very different experience than at other companies. In this feature, King team members share their memorable moments, inspiring events and valuable lessons learned in their time with the company.

Business Development Manager Kay Roby-Bragg has been with King Aerospace for nearly 28 years. She’s worked on innumerable projects throughout that time, but none rival the months in which she assisted company Founder and Chairman Jerry King with preparing the new King Aerospace Commercial Corporation (KACC) facility in Bentonville, AR.

The challenge was twofold: King Aerospace would be taking over two large hangars that had been empty for close to 18 years and had fallen into disrepair. Everything needed to be brought up to modern MRO standards – and, Mr. King decided that he alone would set up the new facility, so that staff wouldn’t be pulled away from other King Aerospace locations.

“Jerry pretty much single-handedly took it upon himself to coordinate renovating that facility from start to finish,” she recalls. “From finding the facility to negotiating the lease, dealing with the FAA and the airport authority, meeting with the fire department, police department and all the construction companies. Also building the kitchen, decorating and painting the offices – you name it, he did it from A-to-Z.”

Kay admits keeping up with it all was a challenge. “During this time, Jerry asked me to serve as his executive assistant, even though I wouldn’t always be on-site,” she recalls. “He is very detail-oriented, and he can throw a million things at you at once. It’s mind-boggling how he keeps track of everything, and it was amazing to see him work in that environment and under those circumstances.”

Adding to their collective stress level, Kay notes, was the scheduled arrival of the new facility’s first customer in September 2022, leaving less than seven months to have everything ready. Throughout this time, Mr. King essentially lived at the Arkansas facility, more than 5 ½ hours away from his Dallas home.

“He managed to pull it all together and set KACC Arkansas up for success,” she says. “But Mr. King is quick to emphasize it took the entire team to make this project happen. He was just the one coordinating everything.”

An Open House Unlike Any Other

In early 2023, Mr. King decided to hold an open house to introduce the facility to invited customers and distinguished guests, including representatives from Boeing. There was just one problem with that plan: KACC Arkansas was still a work in progress at the time, so those invited guests would be touring largely empty spaces.

“So, Jerry comes up with this idea that we’re going to have more than 30 stations throughout the facility,” Kay says. “At each one will be a basketball game, or pet goats or flinging a rubber chicken. All kinds of games and activities at different spots along the facility tour.

“And we’re like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!'” she continues. “All these different empty rooms, and we’re asking them to visualize the cabinet shop that will soon be in place – and hey, let’s play a game of cornhole while we’re here!”

Despite her initial misgivings, Kay readily admits the event was a resounding success.

“These are some of the most intelligent people out there in their field, and we gave them an open house unlike any they’d ever seen,” she says. “Everyone enjoyed it, and it gave attendees time to meet and interact with King Aerospace professionals in a relaxed – and definitely unique – environment.

“I’m still absolutely gobsmacked at how Jerry managed to pull that off,” Kay laughs.

Top Photo, L to R: Kay Roby-Bragg, Barbara King, and Pat Brooks at the KACC Arkansas facility.