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think service has been one of the keys to our success — putting the customer or other person first.” He finds personal fulfillment in seeing how his company helps first responders in turn serve their communities. “Two snapshots of how my vision helped someone do their job is first, the Massachusetts State Police apprehending the Boston Marathon bomber.” NFC trained that police unit about two weeks before the terrorist bombing event. ”They were able to fly and do their job at night with night-vision goggles,” Aldous says. In the next snapshot example he gives, the training happened even closer to the event, which was the Ferguson, Missouri, protests and riots that roiled for weeks over the police shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. “We completed the St. Louis Metro Air Support Unit training on Thursday and on Friday that event began. They were able to be an eye in the sky, utilizing night-vision goggles. They weren’t flying with goggles prior to that, but after we served them, they were able to manage the situation from the air under cover of darkness.” Aldous concludes with contentment, “Those are two examples where we were indirectly involved and made an impact through providing training and products to first responders, and I can humbly say that we are proud to serve those who serve us.”


MENTORS


One doesn’t arrive at career contentment without having mentors on the journey. Sometimes, executives are hesitant to spotlight specific mentors for fear of leaving someone in the dark. Aldous is more than ready to turn the light on those who helped him. “I can put my finger on three mentors. Number one is my father, Roger Aldous. He really instilled in me honesty and the value of a full, hard day’s work. Being honest with your customers and employees and setting a good example by working a full, hard day is really what it’s about.” The second role model that Aldous names is a gentleman named Jim Scala (aka ‘Jimmy the Blade’). “He was our standardization instructor pilot and I flew regularly with him in Iraq. He put me through my extensive pilot-in-command evaluation and stood for everything that’s good and great about aviation. His attention to detail, his standardization, his demeanor when things got stressful, rubbed off on me.” The third honoree is Rob Bannon, Aldous’ last commander in Savannah. “His enthusiasm about the mission of aviation. His ability to simplify very complex missions into clear concepts and in-state objectives taught me how to not to get distracted and lost in distracting details.” So far Aldous is three for three, and he caps off his list with a bonus story that exemplifies how Bannon refused to let minutia hide the objective. “In Iraq, we got the call to go north on a mission,” he begins. “We all spent two days planning everything out and everyone got caught up in the details of what seemed a complex mission. We all were drawing out our plans and questioning one another. Rob got frustrated with this and interrupted us to say, ‘Now, stop it! The concept of the operation is to get in your (freakin’) helicopters and fly north. When you see Baghdad, you made it!’ Actually, that was the simplicity of the mission that we lost focus of — to haul stuff to the Baghdad airport. His ability to instill his concept of an operation into us and our ability to execute that based on the commander’s in-state objectives is something that’s stuck with me.”


FAMILY MAN


One thing that has not stuck with Aldous is his golf game. “I used to love to play a round of golf. I think in 2018, I played maybe two rounds, which is horrible! Actually, I made a resolution for this year to play 10 rounds of golf — at least,” he laughs, as if he will ever find the time to walk the greens. As the president of a growing company, even finding time for family is difficult. He and his wife have two young daughters, Emma and Adelynne, that he “loves spending time with.” So much so that every three months, the busy dad takes a week off to spend consistent quality time with his family. He adds that he also must take the occasional hour for himself, which is most enjoyed indulging his hobby of woodworking in his workshop. But even there, family is not far from mind. “I’m finishing up a toy chest for my daughter,” he happily announces.


Still other things besides family are on his brain. He frequently ponders where the aviation industry is heading and what challenges lie ahead. He’s concerned about the impending rotorcraft pilot shortage that has been creeping up on the industry for years. “The airlines are taking many helicopter pilots and if you’re a pilot not totally committed to rotorcraft, you’ve got to explore that option,” he says. When constant questioning thoughts about his company grow into intrusions, Aldous remembers how a friendly advisor helped him keep NFC’s challenges in perspective. Aldous recalls that his advisor said, “Adam, you have to keep it all in perspective. Look, you started a company from scratch in an infantile night-vision sector and now have sent out hundreds of invoices. Each one of those invoices represents a service your company provided. Now, think about what those services and sales allowed each customer to do. Isn’t that advancing your goals and vision of helping other people?”


Aldous concludes, “When we started, a minority of first responders were using night vision technology. Now maybe more than 90% of them are using it.”


But don’t you worry, Adam Aldous and company are working to serve that remaining percent still in the dark.


20 Jan/Feb 2019


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