In 2014, multi-industry group Textron acquired two long-standing companies in the aviation and flight training sectors. These businesses were then combined with other Textron brands and a third acquisition to create a strong newcomer in the marketplace, TRU Simulation + Training. By developing, manufacturing, and maintaining state-of-the-art flight training solutions, TRU is well positioned to meet the advanced needs of both civil and defence industry clients.

The CEO Magazine spoke to Ian Walsh, the President and CEO of TRU, and James Takats, the Senior Vice President of Global Simulation and Training Strategy for Textron, about business opportunities, its success story, and the benefits of having such a robust parent company.

The CEO Magazine: When you first joined TRU, what were the biggest opportunities you saw for yourselves and for the company as a whole?

James: I have been in the industry for 35 years and so the opportunity to continue to be a major contributor to aviation safety was a huge part of it for me. To bring the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge I obtained from many years of running a small business to a much larger forum, was fulfilling.

With TRU we had an opportunity to build a world-leading, but very nimble, simulation and training leader.

Ian: Aviation is an industry that I have a deep passion for and a great deal of experience in. Then, looking at it from Textron’s perspective, it was a challenge. Jim and his team, as well as the other teams that are now part of TRU, have all done some amazing things over the years and I think when Textron brought them all together it was a strong professional business opportunity to create a world-class company in a growing industry.

What are your key areas of focus for TRU?

Ian: There are 3 aspects: the people, the process, and the performance. As a group of businesses that have come together there is a concerted effort to bring each piece together as one high-performance organisation. Making sure we have the right leadership and management people in place, and that everyone is trained properly to effectively do their jobs, is important. In terms of process, it is about maturing quickly from being a privately-held entity to being one that is a publicly-traded Fortune-500 company. With that comes a different level of performance, process excellence and compliance.

James: There was a significant change in culture so that was certainly a focus. We wanted to keep the advantages of an innovative, hi-tech small business capability, while pushing our operations to new heights.