MSGL & MSEL Students Visit SD International Airport and WD-40 Company

February 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

MS in Global Leadership & MS in Executive Leadership students recently had the opportunity to visit two unique and important organizations for the San Diego economy – San Diego International Airport and the WD-40 Company. Though you may not fully realize it, the airport is just as much of a business as any other “company” in town. Here’s a little bit of what students learned:

SD International Airport – We received a fascinating brief on the importance of the airport to the San Diego regional economy from the VP for marketing and then we were addressed by Thella Bowens, the President and CEO of the Airport on her leadership style and approach to getting the most out of the team she has assembled.

– We learned that SD Airport Authority is actively recruiting international carriers to bring direct flights from San Diego to Europe and Asia

– The cost for an Airline to establish a route which runs one flight/week out of San Diego Internationally is $100m.

– The Airlines partner with the SD Airport and local businesses to share risk when a new route is established to support the community.

– San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is one of the most efficient airfields in the country.

– We were all very impressed with Ms Bowens’ humble and collaborative leadership style, and understand why people are so happy to work there.

At WD-40 we were hosted by Patrick Wade, VP for Global Innovation, Maria Mitchell VP for Corporate & Investor Relations, and Pete Fougner, Director of Global Quality Assurance.

– We were given a brief on the history of WD-40 and its products and a tour of the facility, to include an ‘up close and personal’ with the preparation of the ‘secret formula’ which makes WD-40 so successful.

– We learned the WD-40 stands for Water Displacement 40th attempt, was invented in 1953 and its original name was Rocket Chemical.

– WD-40 is an international company with only 311 employees but hundreds of partners and is sold in 168 countries. They consider their partnerships to be the key to their success.

– WD-40 has branched out into some related cleaning and lubrication products such as Blue Works, 3 in 1 Oil, lava soap, 2000 flushes, spot shot.

– We were given a fascinating brief on their corporate approach to leader development and retention. With such a small but flat organization, there is not significant upward mobility; they retain their leaders when by creating a great place to work and many opportunities for professional and personal development within the organization.

Special thanks to both companies for hosting us. If you or someone you know would be interested in starting their graduate degree and would enjoy the many opportunities we provide outside the classroom, please let us know!

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