Strengthening and Stretching My Wings

August 9, 2022

By Jarid King
King Aerospace president

On August 11, I’ll be stretching my wings and adding something new to my plate. I’m returning to school. I never thought I would say that. Anyone who knows me understands that I prefer workplaces to classrooms and real work over bookwork. At this stage in life, though, I have had a change of heart. I see the benefits an advanced degree can bring.

Plus, I’ll still have plenty of time for learning by doing. I’ll be in the saddle, so to speak, Mondays-Thursdays at King Aerospace’s home office in Addison, TX; our commercial facilities in Ardmore, OK, or Bentonville, AR; or our defense facilities at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, TX, Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM, or Camp Humphreys, South Korea. Yes, I get around.

Every other Friday and Saturday, I’ll be taking part in an accredited, executive master of business administration (EMBA) program at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. The big appeal: in-person collaborating and learning from a diverse network of peers who also want to hone their management expertise and critical-thinking skills. My dad, Jerry, went through this program over 30 years ago and still mentions how what he learned then helps him solve business challenges today. I want that experience, too. It’s well worth the investment of time and money.

The SMU faculty blend industry insights with academic research to develop rigorous, next-gen, future-prepared curriculum. It’s designed to build analytical, problem-solving ability that we then apply through exercises that provide practical, hands-on, experiential learning. It keeps things real, too, acknowledging that everything doesn’t always go as planned. It reminds us to learn from failures by applying grit and perseverance.

King Aerospace’s diverse, global team delivers mission-critical, no-excuses services. I take that responsibility seriously. I want to lead with vision and purpose. To confront challenges and seize opportunities. To leverage data, analytics and technology while never losing sight of the people who are our true “secret sauce.” As I told SMU in my application, an EMBA “is something I want to accomplish for myself, my family and my company because of the future benefits I will gain from it.”

SMU’s EMBA program feels right for me as a young executive who wants to be the best person and leader possible. There are times to listen to your gut instinct. But I don’t want to just rely on that. I want to approach decision making with a full arsenal of evidence, experience and knowledge. King Aerospace customers and team members deserve that. I wouldn’t dream of delivering anything less.

Louis Pasteur said it best, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” I intend to be ready.