Servant Leaders continue to elevate King Aerospace but in new roles


Jarid King

Dallas, TX – King Aerospace Founder Jerry King and his son, President Jarid King continue to double-down on the role of servant leadership in driving the company’s value proposition: building value in everything it does with integrity and a problem-solving, here-for-you approach. It has made two key management changes.

Steve Sawyer, formerly SEMA program manager, has been named general manager of operations for King Aerospace Commercial Corporation (KACC), a leading provider of VVIP and corporate aircraft services. He will oversee the company’s large maintenance, repair and overhaul campus in Ardmore, OK.

Dean Nelson, formerly deputy program manager for CONUS, assumes the role of SEMA program manager for King Aerospace, Inc. (KAI), a global operation that serves the U.S. military and government.

“These proven leaders will work alongside our dedicated workforce to continually burnish the King Aerospace gold wings,” says Jarid King. “Team members do not simply get their wings. They earn them, and daily earn the right to wear them. Steve and Dean know how to lift up and inspire teams to make a positive difference. Their leadership doesn’t just move mountains. It gets planes in the air safely, quickly and cost effectively.”

The wings serve as visual representations of an adherence to the company’s Cornerstone Principles. These include treating others with respect, acting honestly, earning trust, problem solving, working as a team and striving for quality in everything – no excuses.

“The commitment King Aerospace team members have to one another is automatic,” says Sawyer. “We sit down, roll up our sleeves and figure out how we’re going to make things work. We serve in a dynamic, often high-pressure environment, so it means everything that we have each other’s back.”

Sawyer is a retired U.S. Navy master chief with 30 years of service. His experience included managing 66 unique technical facilities conducting full-cycle repair of engines, electronics, hydraulics, life support, ordnance equipment and support equipment relative to McDonnell Douglas F/A-18, Lockheed C-130 and P-3 aircraft. He was responsible for the training, certification, safety and welfare of more than 500 military and civilian specialized technicians and managed an annual $8 million operational budget and a $500,000 training budget, achieving a 98% production success rate supporting almost 100 Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.

Sawyer’s deep expertise in fleet logistics extends to Boeing 737 (C-40), McDonnell Douglas C-9, Lockheed C-130, and Gulfstream G-III/G-IV/G-V aircraft. He managed aircraft maintenance program compliance, quality assurance standards and logistics support requirements for 17 separate units worldwide operating more than 65 of these aircraft. Sawyer had responsibility for overseas aircraft replacement parts warehouses supporting 300,000 line items valued at more than $40 million. Sawyer was a certified FAA and EASA FlightSafety International Pratt and Whitney engine maintenance instructor. He earned a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt and maintains a secret security clearance.

Sawyer joined King Aerospace five years ago. Initially he served as program manager for King’s contractor logistics support (CLS) work as a subcontractor for special-operation military aircraft. The contract was awarded in 2017 with options extending to 2026. The scope expanded in 2020 to include a dozen additional locations. Under Sawyer’s leadership, the responsibility successfully assumed in a mere 30 days.

“Steve steps into this role at KACC understanding every component of the operation – from the engines being worked on to the technicians delivering the service,” says Jarid King. “His infectious passion energizes everyone around him.”

Dean Nelson also served 30 years in the Navy, where, as an E9 maintenance master chief and command master chief, he had responsibility for aircraft quality assurance, maintenance production, unit programs, policies and personnel placements. At one point, he managed the maintenance and administrative efforts of more than 200 personnel maintaining a dozen F/A-18 aircraft. The squadron achieved historic levels of success that led to Maintenance Excellence awards and being named the US Navy Squadron of the Year. Most recently he served as a Gulfstream GIV maintenance instructor for FlightSafety International. He assumes Sawyer’s previous role, he says, with great enthusiasm.

“Providing contractor logistics support demands an unwavering 24/7 commitment,” says Nelson. “The focus and comradery here make it very similar to being in the military. You do this work to support our nation and its men and women in uniform. I love being part of the King Aerospace team.”

“Steve and Dean know that to lead is to serve,” says King Aerospace Chairman and Founder Jerry King. “These dedicated professionals engender tremendous trust. They lay out clear expectations and their people rise up and respond like a family would – giving it everything they have. They meet and exceed challenges, often in profound ways.”

“Jerry King created an amazing legacy with King Aerospace,” says Sawyer. “I want to take it to the next level.”