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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2021

“Our track record of performance excellence in every facet of support and sustainment enables us to solve clients’ needs efficiently” - Patrick “Paddy” Gough, CEO/President of PKL Services, Inc.

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“Innovation is a result of PKL’s ethos which ensures that every employee in the company ‘Rows True’ together toward the attainment of a common vision.”

PKL Services, Inc. (PKL) is a leading global aerospace company that provides aerospace maintenance, training, logistics, and program management services. It is present in multiple countries and has traditionally maintained a workforce that consists of approximately 90 percent veterans. The company has supported the U.S. government and foreign governments in locations around the world to ensure the readiness of their aviation fleets.

PKL Services was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Poway, CA.

To highlight and further understand what PKL Services, Inc. stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Mr. Patrick “Paddy” Gough who is the company’s Chief Executive Officer and President.

Below is an excerpt.

Q. Tell us what inspired the creation of PKL Services.

PKL Services was founded in 2003 on the principle of service. Seeing a decline in the availability of skilled Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) service personnel, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, Samuel Flores, Jr., sought to improve the maintenance capabilities within the industry. His 30 years of dedication, knowledge, and experience in aviation logistics and supply chain management paved the way for him to establish PKL and provide high-quality, cost-effective aircraft maintenance, training, and logistics support services.

Q. What makes PKL Services great? And what makes it a leading global aerospace services company?

PKL balances agile, effective performance with an unyielding commitment to our core values. We employ highly skilled experts throughout the company. Most of the employees performing in the field remain with PKL for the duration of their contracts, with many remaining for the succession of follow-on contracts as far back as 2008. We proudly experience less than 10 percent turnover as a result. We also have a very stable corporate workforce, who are seasoned professionals, which on average have seven years of service at PKL.

We provide program management, quality assurance, and technical support for an entire range of aviation maintenance, training, and logistics requirements—across multiple echelons for our military clients. We meet organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance needs. We develop and implement innovative training curricula and administer that training to the customer’s logistical demands. Our track record of performance excellence in every facet of support and sustainment enables us to solve clients’ needs efficiently and at unmatched value.

PKL’s employees adhere to rigorous quality standards and are committed to the excellence that they produce. We rely on our ISO 9001:2015 certified Quality Management System to ensure that we provide quality service throughout each department and on every contract. PKL has now completed the first stage of AS-9110c certification of its Quality Management System and is scheduled to complete stage two and full certification in the next month. That commitment to quality is consistently reflected in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (CPARs) from our customers.

Q. What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees to represent those values?

PKL recognizes that veterans bring both a talented skill set for their unique positions as well as a respect for the value of integrity and commitment. As a result, PKL has become an employer of choice for the veteran community, with 90 percent of PKL’s employees being veterans. We seek maximized efficiencies without sacrificing effectiveness. PKL’s ethos ensures that every employee in the company ‘Rows True’ together toward the attainment of a common vision. Uncompromising integrity is the mantra of PKL.

Q. From your perspective, how is the industry you serve currently evolving? And what are the trends in the different categories?

The ability to remain agile and extremely effective within primary service offerings gives PKL the ability to make a conscious strategic decision to collaborate with foreign governments and U.S. companies to develop new and innovative aviation technologies for military and commercial aircraft maintenance training and logistics support. We already have a robust presence in Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and have recently signed agreements in 11 Latin American countries and are planning an expansion into various other areas of the world.

Q. Will your company be expanding, bringing on any new services that we should be aware of?

In pursuit of constant performance improvement, PKL has introduced advanced technology and product improvement to customer needs. We are partnered with a Singapore-based technology company to further extend our capabilities through the use of advanced and emerging technology with our trademarked training system, OmniSpec®. This full spectrum training system allows us to provide on-demand training through a variety of methods. With these innovations successfully underway on legacy systems, and with proven results, PKL is expanding our portfolio globally.

Our full spectrum training system can be tailored by combining traditional classroom education with computer-based systems, augmented reality (AR) environments, virtual reality (VR) labs, and Assisted Live Display Technology (ALDT). The OmniSpec® system makes training interactive, collaborative, and supportive. You no longer need to down aircraft or equipment to train, and you can access the training 24/7 at any location in a fully networked environment. With OmniSpec®, students are no longer anchored in a specific ‘classroom’ and can easily assimilate the competencies they need through virtual skill-based training. In addition to OmniSpec®, we also provide train-the-trainer courses to enable senior-level technicians to provide instruction to less experienced personnel in the field.

Q. What plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?

When the domestic military aviation contract opportunities showed a decrease in margins, PKL engaged in a strategic pivot into Latin America and other countries to expand Foreign Military Sales service contracts and Direct Commercial Sales contracts with better margins to increase revenue and profitability. When other companies were wrestling with the COVID-19 pandemic, we were postured to take advantage of our technological investments and initiated the concept of ‘distributed operations’, allowing for decentralized corporate control.

The Leader at the Helm of PKL Services, Inc.

Patrick “Paddy” Gough is the Chief Executive Officer/President of PKL Services, Inc. He joined PKL in August 2014, initially serving as the VP of Human Resources. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and was subsequently promoted to CEO/President in 2020.

Mr. Gough joined PKL Services following a distinguished 30-year career with the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as the Operations Officer for both Third Marine Aircraft Wing and First Marine Expeditionary Force. He served as the Commanding Officer of a squadron and Marine Aircraft Group 39 and as the Deputy Commander of the Marine Corps Installations West. Upon retiring from the Marine Corps as a Colonel, he attained six years of corporate experience as the Executive Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development for Orange County Transportation Authority prior to joining PKL. Patrick flew as a Naval Aviator in the AH-1J and AH-1T (TOW) Cobra and the AH-1W Super Cobra, and the AH-1Z Viper aircraft accumulating approximately 4000 flight hours in peace and combat operations throughout his career. He has earned numerous military awards and decorations for operational excellence, individual accomplishment, and safety milestones.

“We rely on our ISO 9001:2015 certified Quality Management System to ensure that we provide quality service throughout each department and on every contract.”