Businesses, U.S. Military Can Learn From Southwest's Unique Business Model

Former SWA exec., business consultant Luke Gill, says there's a lot that other companies and even the military can learn from Southwest.

Gill was recruited because of his wide experience in commercial aviation practices and to sell both the company's staff and the military on the concepts, said Tom Burbage, Lockheed executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.

"At the time, what we needed on JSF was a visionary," Burbage said, someone "who could see how to improve logistics, and a missionary, somebody who had the passion this was the right thing to do and see it through."

Gill helped change the culture of the JSF team, Burbage said: "I would say he was the right guy at the right time."

There are plenty of other opportunities ahead, Gill says, for him to plant the seeds of culture change. The airline industry and even the military, he says, must make enormous changes in the way they operate, maintain and repair aircraft to cut costs and boost productivity.

What they need is a little outside help, he says, especially from someone who has seen and understands the successful Southwest culture.

Fort Worth Star Telegram

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