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A Quick Word With… Bristow Head of Asset Management James Kennedy

August 01, 2017

In this interview, Bristow Head of Asset Management James Kennedy talks about his new role and what has prepared him for it, as well as his top priorities and biggest challenges.

Talk about your role at Bristow and what are you currently working on?
My role of head of asset management is slightly different from my previous role in that my focus is now more global with the new regional hub structure.

I am currently focused on our various aircraft lease returns, and working with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and regulators on the best path forward for the EC225.

My team is also focused on aircraft sales as we exit legacy fleets. This is especially challenging at the moment due to the downturn in the market, but we are doing our best to maximize the benefit to the company.

What are your top priorities in this new role?
My current priority is accepting and embracing the challenge of being a steward for the company and its assets. With every decision I make as head of asset management, I try to either maximize the benefit or minimize downside to the company.

What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?
I've hit the ground running with my team during this transition. We've collaborated to ensure a smooth transition as we handle aircraft lease returns, as well as aircraft movement.

What are your major challenges?
I've always been in regionally-based maintenance, so the shift to a more global approach can be challenging at times. I am working with a truly global, operationally driven perspective. I'm focused on what the company needs at a global level and I'm working to support that.

What in your background prepared you for this assignment?
I've been at Bristow for 20 years, and I've worked my way up through the Maintenance organization. I joined Bristow as a mechanic, then became a lead mechanic, base maintenance manager at multiple locations, gulf coast maintenance manager, then director of maintenance.

I was part of the Leadership Development Training program where I started to get a global perspective of the company. I got to talk and work with people from around the world. Instead of just exchanging emails, as we did in the past, I was putting names with faces and truly collaborating at a global level. It was an eye-opening experience.

What was the greatest lesson you learned from a colleague?
The mentorship I've gotten from my boss Rob Phillips is invaluable. Working with him and seeing his drive is inspiring. He's taught me a lot about financial accountability and being a steward for the company's money and assets. Under his mentorship, I've learned to take a step back and think about how each decision affects the company. It's changed the way I approach problems and make decisions.

What question should we have asked you?
You should have asked me about my family. I've been married for more than 20 years, and we have two kids. My daughter is 18 and is enrolled in college this year. She's gotten a full scholarship and she's going to be pre-med. My six-year-old son is our semi-late in life surprise. He's either going to keep me young or kill me!