Duncan Aviation is pleased to announce that Andy Richards, a 22-year veteran of the company, has been named the new Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of its full-service facility in Battle Creek, Michigan. As Vice President of Modifications & Completions for the last seven years, Richards will be stepping into his new role on March 8 as current Executive Vice President and COO Tom Burt retires after 40 years with the company.
In 1997, with a Bachelor’s Degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota, Richards was looking for a job to support his young family. His friendship with now Master Cabinet Specialist John Kemp was serendipitous back then as Kemp encouraged Richards to apply for an entry-level tech position in the Cabinet Shop at Kal-Aero in Kalamazoo.
Duncan Aviation acquired Kal-Aero barely eight months later, and Richards remained in his position at the Cabinet Shop. Roughly nine years later, as the Assistant Manager of the Interior Department, Richards had a life-changing experience when he was selected to go through Duncan Aviation’s Leadership Dynamics Program (LDP).
“Although I’d appreciated my job at Duncan Aviation, it was during those LDP classes that I realized how fortunate I was to work for a company that was willing to invest that amount of time, interest, and money in my development,” says Richards. “It was then that I knew I was going to stick around and go all in for this company. Duncan Aviation recognized my potential for leadership and was willing to partner with me to develop it.”
Richards believes that this investment in people is what makes Duncan Aviation so unique in the business aviation industry. The company not only treats its customers extremely well, it believes in its team members and is willing to invest in their growth and development. Happy, engaged, well-trained team members make good decisions every day and are able to build lasting relationships with customers.
“When team members love what they do and look forward to what they do every single day, that passion is apparent to our customers and translates into superior-quality work,” says Richards. “I love working around the folks at Duncan Aviation. The planes are cool, and the things we do to and for those aircraft when they’re here are interesting and exciting. But what gets me up in the morning is our people.”
Richards and his wife Pam have been married for 26 years. They enjoy spending time with their daughters and going to their cabin on the Au Sable River in northern Michigan. Andy practices yoga, bikes to work, and exercises in the workout facility at Duncan Aviation.
“I’m incredibly excited to have this opportunity, and I’m honored. Stepping into this role is an invigorating challenge,” says Richards. “Duncan Aviation operates at such a high level that I feel compelled to maintain the standard of leadership that I’ve come to expect from people I’ve admired and respected over the years. At the same time, by providing mentors, fostering growth through leadership classes, and leading by example, Duncan Aviation has done a fantastic job of preparing me for this role.”