July 1, 2023

I used to give the book titled “Dress for Success” and “Dress for Success for Women” to new employees.  Then and now people who see you make judgments about you long before you speak with them. Over the years, dress codes and styles have changed and become less formal but some things have not changed. Members of the military dress the part and project positively. I am blessed to cross paths with many young military warriors when I visit our military sites. They are fit, and in many cases really buff looking and look like the warriors they are trained to be. I am thankful and appreciative for these young people who are very respectful and willing to serve our Country.

King Aerospace supports the men and women who wear military uniforms, embraces military appearance standards and uses them as guidelines for its own standards. Retiring military personnel have requested that King Aerospace personnel support their retirement ceremonies. They want the memories that will be captured in photos of the ceremonies to look professional and sadly they don’t want their primary support contractor personnel in the retirement photos. We are honored and blessed to receive these special requests.

Recently I was bewildered and speechless during a visit to a doctor’s office for a checkup after foot surgery. I was escorted to an examination room and told to remove my boots and socks and to have a seat. I did as requested and after a while a physician’s assistant involved in the surgery entered with a young man. Both were dressed in purple scrubs. What shocked me was the young man was wearing a necklace of pearls about the size of olives around his neck and what appeared to be Red Wing lace up vintage work boots. He asked me some questions but I was so shocked I didn’t listen and had to ask him to repeat his questions. I then answered his questions and the two exited the exam room after the young man told me the doctor would be in shortly.

I sat in the room barefooted, thinking about what I just experienced and what I was feeling. I thought about all sorts of motivational and guidance books I have read, including the Bible. I did not want to be mean spirited in any way, but I thought I should follow my heart and attempt to lovingly and kindly influence this young person. I prayed for wisdom and guidance and concluded that if the young man returned, I would say something.

Shortly after making my decision, in walked the doctor, the physician’s assistant and the young man. The doctor appeared glad to see me but before we got past saying hello, I asked to talk to the young man. The doctor and his assistant looked a little surprised and the room got real quiet. I looked at the young man and asked, “Are you a medical professional in training?” He said he was. For whatever reason, I stood up in my bare feet and in a calm voice said, “My wife was the first certified registered pediatric nurse in the Dallas Fort Worth area and she always looked professional.” I went on to say, “I’ll bet you are very smart, but when I look at you, I cannot tell if you are a tree hugger or a lumberjack.”

At this point the doctor and the physician’s assistant quietly exited the room but left the door cracked open. I asked the young man as I was looking into his eyes, trying to convey a caring attitude, “If I was your pilot, would you want me to look like a professional pilot?” He said “Yes.” I asked, “If you called a policeman, would you want him to look like a professional?” The young man hung his head and stood behind the door in the corner of the room and did not say anything. After several seconds of silence, I sat down hoping that my words were received in the caring spirit I intended. It seemed like the seconds of dead silence were many minutes. I thought that perhaps I had chased off my doctor and I should put my socks and boots back on and begin to figure out how to explain to a new podiatrist why I didn’t have a doctor to finish my procedure. Thankfully, the door opened and the doctor and his assistant returned. The young man quickly left the room without saying a word. The doctor mouthed the words, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He then looked at my foot and said all was well. The physician’s assistant exited the room and then the doctor closed the door and thanked me several times for addressing what I observed. He said he has worked hard to create a professional practice and now must deal with a different generation and it has impacted his long and successful practice. I left the office and hoped and prayed that my message was received as constructive criticism. I may never know how the message was received but once again I followed my heart.

I guess the moral to the story, from my perspective, is that we need to look the part and live the part.  Just looking like a professional doesn’t make you a professional but it’s the first step.  One of my King Aerospace cornerstone principles is “Demonstrated Performance.”  You must look the part and earn the trust of those we employ, those we serve and those we encounter: “No Excuses.” We also have a cornerstone principle of “Nonpolitical Environment.”  I hope and pray that I am living what I profess with God’s favor.

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.