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AVIAN Celebrates Second Graduating Class of Leadership Development Program

Mar 9th, 2023

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – Leadership is a lifelong process where you constantly learn new skills and use those skills when needed to achieve the best results.

Recently, a group of ten incredible leaders at AVIAN completed the 12-month-long AVIAN Leadership Development Program (ALDP), where they had the opportunity to add a variety of tools to their toolkits for the future.

"This program taught me that there's no one way to be a good leader. Like a lot of aspects of the "AVIAN Way," we were given the tools and then the means to figure out which type of leader we each wanted to be," said Sara Davidson, ALDP Cohort 2 member and Strategic Communications/Multimedia Specialist for the Naval Air Systems Command. "I'm so grateful to have had this experience; I'm a more effective leader, co-owner, and teammate. The work we've done and the recommendations we've provided to AVIAN will make us all stronger."

In 2021, AVIAN introduced ALDP for aspiring leaders and graduated its first cohort class in the spring of 2022. The program sets foundational knowledge, tools, and understanding for employees to master and apply their leadership skills as they grow in their careers.

Students in the second ALDP cohort were selected from AVIAN's three market sectors and corporate staff. The ten graduates who recently completed their 12-month leadership studies curriculum are Sara Davidson, Kristen Turner, Robin Gatton, Alan Bjerke, David Parker, Rebecca Nicholson, Jeff Booth, Jeff Bottorf, Laura Bowles, and Katie Ursitti.

During their time in the program, students gained valuable insights into leadership practices across business areas such as finance, human resources, operations, ethics, business development, and communications. They heard from in-house speakers and external leadership experts in workshops, panel discussions, and presentation settings.

For their capstone project, students used the lessons learned to contribute to AVIAN's strategic plan for culture and connectedness at AVIAN and its emphasis on a Million Magical Moments. Their research and recommendations for enhancements to AVIAN's culture and connectedness will be instrumental in implementing new ideas in the coming year.

"Our corporate value of taking care of each other is paramount to the success of AVIAN," said Kevin Switick, CEO and President of AVIAN. "ALDP Cohort 2 presented our senior leadership team with great ideas that will have a real positive impact on our current workforce and how we can keep our promises as an organization. I was thrilled with that they presented and the care and thought they put into not just the capstone but their entire program year."

Although ALDP does not guarantee specific career advancement upon completion, several members of the 2022 cohort were promoted and advanced their leadership influence during the program year.

"The ALDP provides its participants with solid, data-driven leadership expertise, served alongside a solid sprinkling of AVIAN's own special sauce. With the skills acquired in ALDP, I feel empowered and inspired to be the best leader (and human) I can be, and much more prepared to tackle any professional challenges along the way." said Laura Bowles, ALDP Cohort 2 member and Senior Contracts Manager for AVIAN.

In just a few short weeks, AVIAN will announce the 2023-24 ALDP class, cohort 3, that will kick off its 12-month program in May.  

About AVIAN 

AVIAN (*ae-v-yin*) is an employee-owned business with over 400 employees and annual revenue exceeding $68 million. Headquartered in Lexington Park, Maryland, the company provides communication strategy and graphic design solutions, engineering design, and systems engineering; test and evaluation of manned and unmanned aerial, surface, and subsurface systems; program, financial, and logistics management; workforce development and training; to 80 government and commercial clients across the United States.

Founded by two U.S. military test pilots in 2005, AVIAN has consistently grown over the past 17 years and has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of America's fastest-growing private companies for ten consecutive years, as well as one of the nation's Best Places to Work. 

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