Tom Cooper
Vice President, CAVOK Group
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A self-described “geek” where it comes to airplanes, Tom feels himself thoroughly at home in the industry. “As a child, I was always an aviation geek, and after engineering school I was able to start working immediately for a major airline where I worked for almost 20 years in many capacities. I was lucky to work with some of the best people in our industry, real industry leaders,” he says.  

The best moments are when we finish a project and the client is so appreciative that we’ve helped them transform a function/process that was holding them back.

Those industry leaders took him under their wing and served as mentors to him. “Early in my career at the airline, I was lucky enough to work in a group that interfaced extensively with all areas of operations and the FAA, and I had a fantastic boss that encouraged me to lead many projects that were probably above my position,” says Tom. “I was able to learn so much about how the entire airline worked, and apply it during the inevitable boom-and-bust cycles.”

Before taking off as a consultant in the aviation sector, he spent several years working for a major wine producer leading the construction and start-up of a large bottling plant in Napa, Calif. “I can tell you much more than you ever want to know about what is required to get wine in the bottle and off to distribution without messing it up!” he jokes.

In his role as a consultant, Tom helps airline, rail, and MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) clients achieve a new operational capability, transform an function/process that isn’t performing well, and see more clearly and plan for what lies ahead. Achieving good business results are critical, but it’s the personal aspect of his engagements that Tom finds most gratifying and memorable: “I’ve had the client hug me after the last debrief, and it is a fantastic feeling on the plane going home knowing that you made a real impact.”