LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – If you ask ten people ‘what is leadership?’ you will get eleven answers.
The many schools of thought surrounding leadership are vast but at AVIAN there are a few that have influenced its leaders’ approach to business and what it means to be an AVIAN leader. To share those with the next generation, AVIAN developed its first formal program for aspiring leaders and inducted thirteen students into its first cohort on April 8.
The AVIAN Leadership Development Program (ALDP) is designed to prepare junior and mid-level employees with the foundational knowledge, tools, and understanding to master their own leadership skills and apply them as they grow in their careers.
Students selected into the first ALDP include Melissa Ball, Kristin Beauchamp, Kate Evans, Eric Flagg, Jeannine Harris, John Healy, Morgan Hoey, Ari Larson, Jeff Peters, Tyler Sautter, Laurie Schmidt, Elise Smith, and Matt Vowell. They will complete a 12-month leadership studies curriculum by February of 2022.
“I am so happy about the launch of this program for our employees,” said Kevin Switick, CEO and owner of AVIAN. “As a young lieutenant in the Navy, I was given so many opportunities to grow and learn early in my career. Those opportunities helped shape the leader I am today. ALDP will make sure our employees have similar opportunities.”
During their program year, students will hear from in-house speakers and external leadership experts in workshops, panel discussions, and presentation settings; and will evaluate and discuss leadership successes and challenges facing professionals today.
“This program is meant to be a career accelerator for the highly motivated,” Switick said. “There are a lot of people within the company [AVIAN] that are incredibly passionate. We’re giving them a series of guiding leadership principles and practices and hopefully, they’ll take what they’ve learned and channel it into leadership opportunities moving forward.”
Prior to starting the program, all students conduct a Myers-Briggs personality assessment to understand their individual preferences when receiving energy and information, as well as how they make decisions and approach the outside world.
"By starting the program with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, ALDP participants can integrate the information they learn from each session to build upon their personal strengths and potential blind spots," said Sarah Aaron, ALDP training lead. "This allows each cohort member to focus on areas pertinent to their personal career acceleration."
The AVIAN Leadership Development Program was originally introduced to employees in early 2020 prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were working through the logistics of the program right when the pandemic hit,” Switick said. “We could have pushed forward and launched something last year, but we decided to pause briefly and regroup so we could offer something that was truly valuable. I think we’re there. I’m excited to see these young leaders grow throughout the year.”
AVIAN (pronounced *ae-v-yin*) is an employee-owned small business that celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2020.
AVIAN is a two-time honoree on the Inc. Best Workplaces in America list (2018 and 2020) and a 10-time honoree on the Inc. 500 | 5000 lists of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. AVIAN ranked No. 230 in 2010, No. 267 in 2011, No. 660 in 2012, No. 1675 in 2013, No. 2630 in 2014, No. 2417 in 2015, No. 3599 in 2016, No. 3764 in 2017, No. 4878 in 2018 and No. 4496 in 2019.
AVIAN believes talent and passion generate solutions to today’s business challenges. We understand that these characteristics thrive in a business culture that embraces innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit.
We are resourceful, responsive, and reachable for our clients in program, financial, and logistics management; engineering and systems engineering; test and evaluation of manned and unmanned surface, subsurface, and aerial systems; workforce development and training; communication strategy and graphic design.
AVIAN is headquartered in Lexington Park, Maryland with hundreds of employees located across the county