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November 4, 2021

5 Qs with JD Richard, General Manager, SkyAlyne

Previously we introduced you to JD Richard and briefly touched on his impressive career in aerospace and defence. But we thought you might like to know a bit more about JD… so we put five questions to SkyAlyne’s new General Manager.

1. Starting off with a tough one – what does JD stand for?

‘J’ and ‘D’ are the initials of two very traditional French Canadian first names. My family goes back to the 1661 landing at the Fortress of Louisbourg, N.S., and establishing the “Richard” name in Canada (including the most famous of the Richards – the “Rocket” Maurice Richard). If you can guess my name, there could be a free coffee in it for you!

2. How did you end up here at SkyAlyne? What drew you to this role and organization?

I was very interested in supporting the bid for the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program following my (brief) retirement from L3Harris. After a call with CAE leadership in Ottawa, I was faced with a very compelling challenge that I could not avoid. The GM role provided me with an opportunity to again lead a team of the most highly regarded professionals in Canada’s aerospace and defence industries, to take on the challenge of winning and executing Canada’s FAcT project and building the future of SkyAlyne.

3. You’ve spent more than 35 years in the aerospace and defence industries – including leading customer support groups. What do you think is critical to ensuring relationships between businesses and customers are successful?

The simple answer is to understand and respect your customer. Be honest and straightforward in your communications with them and always follow through. Business relationships start between people before words-to-paper, so having a reputation for executing commitments opens the door. Then, demonstrating success through purposeful collaboration keeps the door open and often opens the next door.

This quote has always resonated with me. “The sale of a product is simply the introduction of the product to the customer; the future is the service of the product with that customer”.  That’s why I’m happy to be here at SkyAlyne. This team understands that you must be attentive to your customer to guarantee the future.

4. What is your philosophy on the best way to manage large and diverse teams?

First, a team must have a mission with a defined outcome. This establishes a common goal that the team, whatever size, can strive for. Frequent open communication in each direction establishes understanding and trust and causes the team to be mutually supportive throughout. Management at all levels needs to try to listen to problems, support innovative thinking and most of all, respect all team members for who they are and what they contribute to the overall success of the team. I care about and like to get to know the people I work with, and that is my core philosophy behind working with and leading teams, whatever the size.

5. Where do you live, and what are you doing when you’re not working?

I live in Stittsville, in Ottawa West, with my very understanding wife. I have two sons that graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada and are serving in the Canadian Forces, and one daughter that is a teacher – a more challenging job than a soldier, I’m sure! There are also many grandchildren that just seem to show up from time to time. In my spare time, I still play guitar – a lifelong passion of mine. I also repair vintage pocket watches from the late 1900s. This adventure is a lifetime study of an all-but-forgotten art.  I enjoy golf as it is a game that cannot be beaten and tests one’s temperament. Other activities I enjoy include kayaking, fishing and reading a good book. I tend to read biographies and books on business and leadership (when I manage to find those slices of time between work of course).

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Bonus

JD shredding some Santana on his very cool YouTube channel!

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