Kilpatrick Approach To Aviation Leadership During The Pandemic – 2020 Events


by Sotiris Karagiozidis, International Client Director @ Kilpatrick,
and Riccardo Coli, International Client Director @ Kilpatrick,
in partnership with Aeropodium.

2020 will be remembered as the year that changed people’s lives globally and created turbulence in the economies of every country in the world.

One of the most affected business sectors was aviation, due to numerous bans and restrictions imposed by authorities and people’s fear to travel.

In this context, despite all in-person events been canceled or postponed, Kilpatrick has participated in a series of significant online aviation events – organized by Aeropodium, a specialized event organizer for the aviation industry – in the United States of America, Switzerland, and Greece.

Even though we are all mostly used to experience a higher level of interaction at in-person events, online conferences can offer an exciting way of accessing new content, gain high exposure, and successfully network. 

At the Aeropodium events, Kilpatrick Global CEO Jacob Hoekstra was invited to present the Kilpatrick Approach to Aviation Leadership During The Pandemic.

8th ECAS – European Corporate Aviation Summit, on October 30th, 2020, co-organized with the Center of Excellence in Logistics, Shipping & Transportation, the Center of Excellence in Tourism & Leisure, and the American College of Greece.

The conference opened with the keynote address of Mr. Harry Theoharis, Minister of Tourism of Greece, who presented how the pandemic affected the greek aviation and tourism industry, the counter-measures he had taken until then, and the plans to improve the overall economic and social scenario.

The keynote speech, followed by presentations about the legal aspects of buying and selling a business aircraft and the challenges and strategies to mitigate risk and cost while ensuring aircraft completion, eventually left the floor to three panels on: 

a) European corporate aviation in 2020: Growth and challenges for the future, 

b) Trading business aircraft in Europe, 

c) Aircraft management, maintenance, and operations in Europe.

During this first event, Mr. Jacob Hoekstra, Kilpatrick Global CEO, presented the paramount importance of People and their resilience to continue being productive under the pandemic’s problematic situations.

Also, he explained how companies could search and find the right talents that can fit any company and, most importantly, develop and retain them for the future.

8th USCAS – US Corporate Aviation Summit, on November 6th, 2020, hosted by Emil Buehler Aviation Institute, Brower College. The conference consisted of five panels discussions about:

a) An overview of corporate aviation in the US, 

b) Financing and leasing business aircraft in the US, 

c) Purchase and sell business aircraft in the US, 

d) The operators’ panel 

e) Aircraft management, maintenance, and operations.

During this second event, Mr. Jacob Hoekstra, Kilpatrick Global CEO, presented the importance of human capital in the industry, how we can measure and enhance the resilience needed to keep the performance and morale high.

Also, he pinpointed the importance of selecting the talents needed based on skills and behavioral aspects that will match the needs of companies to the “new normal” conditions created during, but most important, after the finish of the pandemic.

European Business Aviation: Assessing 2020 and Looking Ahead to 2021, on December 4th, 2020, hosted by Mackrell. The event consisted of 5 presentations:

a)  Due Diligence on Human Capital – The Strategy to (Re)Build A Team by Kilpatrick Global CEO, Mr. Jacob Hoekstra.

b) Operating Lease for Business Aviation and Opportunities in the European Market in 2021,

c) Update on the Russian Market and Customs Filings when Operating Business Aircraft into Russia on Private Flights,

d) Not Quite the Final Word on Brexit – What you Need to Be Doing Now

e) Refurbishing Your Jet: Let’s Discuss the Project and How to Ensure its Success.

Overall, Kilpatrick contribution, during the events, was built on few yet essential topics Organizations and People should be working on:

  • Resilience: How Covid-19 affected aviation leadership?
  • Sentiment: What are aviation organizations doing?
  • Tactics: Business Intelligence & Human Capital Due Diligence
  • 2021: Insights and re-shape.

Some of the take-away from Mr. Hoekstra’s presentations include: 

Resilience (During Covid-19)

  • How do we keep our employees’ productivity levels high while working from home?
  • What are the organizational challenges and leadership skills we should analyze and work on?
  • How do I make sure my stakeholders will remember us as real contributors?
  • Who are the People we want to move to the “Finals” with?

Sentiment (On The Way Out Of Covid-19):

  • What is the competition doing differently / better than me?
  • What are the new needs our organization is going to have?
  • How do we re-engage our People so that a new organizational model is put in place?

2021 Tactics and Insights (Post Covid-19):

  • What lessons did we learn from Covid-19?
  • What is the hybrid organizational model we need to give to our business now?

Get an insight on the Q&A session and see Mr. Hoekstra’s answers on three very interesting questions:

  • How to engage and keep people motivated during disruptions and forced transitions?
  • What are the keys to manage transition in 2021?
  • What if an organization is not ready to engage in transition?

2020 was unexpected for all. 2021 is beginning with a high uncertainty level, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At Kilpatrick, we are grateful for taking part in exciting events that allowed us to meet professional speakers and aviation organizations. 

Networking and merely shaking someone’s hand to discuss aviation challenges, trends, and opportunities are vital moments. 

People have probably tended to underestimate it in recent times, until the beginning of 2020. 

We are now all looking forward to getting back together and – hopefully – meet at Aeropodium events in person in 2021. 

We are glad we attended Mr. Panagiotis (Taki) Panagopoulos‘ events in 2020, and we thank him for his dedication to the industry and his professional business approach.  

We look forward to 2021, and we wish a healthy, prosperous, and, most important, “Covid-free” new year to all our colleagues, clients, candidates, partners and friends worldwide.

by Sotiris Karagiozidis, International Client Director @ Kilpatrick,
and Riccardo Coli, International Client Director @ Kilpatrick,
in partnership with Aeropodium.

Kilpatrick Companies