In less than two decades since its inception, Poway, California-based PKL Services, Inc. (PKL) has built an impressive global reputation as a leading provider of recruiting, hiring, and managing skilled personnel for aerospace services, specializing in aircraft maintenance, training, logistics, program management, and management services.
Quality performance is one of the prime reasons why customers choose PKL over its competitors and, because of that, it has also consistently received – and continues to receive – stellar Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (CPARs) from its customers. Mike Naylor, CEO of the company, says that our highly qualified and dedicated employees are why we continue to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations and, as a result, the company has been re-awarded with contracts for multiple years of service, in some cases for more than 13 years. In November of 2021, the company also received AS9110:C and ISO 9001:2015 certifications of their Quality Management System. This validates PKL’s commitment to compliance, high quality standards, and process management in a very competitive aviation industry.
By maintaining close relationships and understanding the unique needs and challenges of their customers, PKL ensures that it provides effective solutions and personalized support while maintaining the quality standards it is known for. It is, therefore, not a surprise that most of PKL’s brand awareness and growth have come from rewarding word-of-mouth reputation.
Journey of 19 Years
The idea to start PKL sprang from Samuel Flores, Jr.’s extensive experience in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The retired US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, also the former Vice President at CACI International, saw the need within the military for logistics support from a commercial contractor who has military experience. In 2003, he founded PKL to fulfill that need.
The company started out as a small operation, with only a handful of employees. It started to grow quickly, however, as the demand for its services increased, the company expanded into maintenance and repair operations and began operating internationally to support the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The company has continued to experience growth and expansion consistently since it started 19 years ago,” says Mike, who takes immense pride in the company they have built in a relatively short time.
Mike joined PKL in 2013 after a 30-year career with the U.S. Marine Corps. In January 2022, the company promote him to the position of CEO. The veteran Colonel, who also served in significant leadership positions during his military career, has progressed through several positions at PKL from Proposal Manager, VP of Business Operations, Senior Director of Business Operations and Chief Operating Officer. “I have had the privilege of being with PKL since 2013, working with a great group of professionals and watching the company grow over these last 9 years,” Mike says.
Core Mission, Core Values, and Client Satisfaction
The core mission of PKL is to be a company that balances agile, effective performance with an unyielding commitment to its core values. Those core values include being an elite provider of skilled personnel, delivering Aerospace Maintenance, Training, and Logistics Services, committed to continual improvement, exceeding customer expectations, and implementing quality standards in dynamic environments. “To achieve this, we are meticulous about quality and compliance,” says Mike.
Whatever the situation, PKL won’t disappoint its customers. The company’s procedures and dedication to compliance ensure that it has the team, resources, expertise, and personnel required to meet the needs of its customers and maintain performance regardless of external circumstances. “We have proven this process works during the pandemic over the last two years while being able to maintain all customer needs, contract obligations, and team development,” Mike says.
Even when the Covid-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc in the U.S. and across the world, PKL was able to uphold its promise to its customers. As a result, in comparison to some competitors, PKL reported no downtime or negative implications because of the changing landscape and global restrictions.
Satisfying the needs of our clients is of paramount importance to the company. Hence, customer satisfaction is the standard we strive for, which ensures we provide our customers well-trained personnel to maintain and operate high performance aircraft at the highest quality possible. Mike points out that this is cohesive drive for high quality performance among the PKL Team is how we project ourselves to be the team of choice.
Veterans-Friendly Company and Dedicated Employees
PKL is a veteran-friendly company. It has a workforce of 600 employees, 90 percent of whom are veterans. In November 2021, Monster.com and Military.com recognized PKL as one of the “Best Employers for Veterans”. “One of our proudest achievements is being recognized as a veteran-friendly organization,” Mike says.
When veterans join PKL, they bring with them their talent, skill sets, and valuable expertise. Our veteran employees bring the desire to continue mentoring and training their active-duty comrades which is an extra benefit that we provide our customers and enables PKL to expand to more contract awards.
PKL has many veterans from all services that work at the Corporate HQ, as team leads or program managers on a number of contracts in the field at PKL. The majority of the company’s leadership team on each contract are military veterans. This creates a consistent culture within PKL, as almost everyone recognizes the professional capabilities, experience, and knowledge that our employees provide which also lends to maintaining good working relationships with customers. “We all speak the same language and work well together towards the same end goal,” says Mike.
Over the years, the company has also been recognized repeatedly with various awards and productions highlighting its workforce. Mike says that our employees bring a wealth of expertise and skills that allow them to remain effective and competitive in the marketplace.
PKL’s Corporate staff includes a diverse range of personnel from both the civilian and military sectors, allowing them to walk the balance between the military customers and the civilian rules and regulations it follows globally.
These PKL employees are dedicated to the company and the result of their hard work has been recognized with PKL being named a top workplace by the San Diego Union Tribune Top Workplaces in 2021. This award is based solely on the feedback of the company’s employees. Some of the most common words used to describe PKL by our employees included: Innovative, Fun, Dynamic, Creative, Collaborative, Agile, and Family.
Mike says that PKL is the best place to work because we are open to feedback from employees, offer support, and recognize their dedication. “We recognize that the best way for PKL to succeed is to hire quality personnel, take care of our employees, and provide quality service to our customers,” Mike says. “When we do this, word gets out, and others want to work with our team.”
As the CEO of PKL, Mike ensures that all employees and customers know about the company’s mission statement and values. Transparency at all levels of engagement is important to our success.
“We are committed to providing skilled, professional personnel and focus on attracting and hiring the best candidates” Mike says. “We know that having the right people on our team is the key to PKL’s overall success.”
Succeeding in a Saturated Market
The aviation industry is a saturated market with lots of competition. As a service provider operating in that industry, PKL has encountered multiple challenges. One of the biggest challenges PKL faced was competing against large, global organizations after it graduated from the Small Business space.
Initially, to gain some competitive advantage, PKL was registered as an 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). This enabled PKL to compete for contracts with small business set-asides. “This was incredibly helpful in our foundational growth,” Mike says. “However, due to being awarded several large revenue contracts we quickly exceeded the limits to remain a Small Business 8(a) or SDVOSB organization.”
To remain competitive, PKL partnered with other 8(a), SDVOSB, and HUBZone companies over the years and entered into mentor-protégé agreements with these companies. That allowed the company to help its partners grow and enter new markets, while also providing more opportunities to compete for new contracts.
“In such a competitive industry, PKL has also found means to stay lean and innovative,” Mike says. The company’s corporate team has remained relatively lean and have retained corporate personnel for 7 years or more which provides consistency in contract management and customer relations. This allows PKL to provide a very stable workforce that understands each contract and the associated nuances.
The company has also established a trademarked training program called OmniSpec®, which is engaging, interactive, collaborative, and supportive. The program allows the company to provide customized solutions to its customers, utilizing advanced technology and proven tactics for maintenance support.
Evolving with the Industry
As the aviation and aerospace industry continues to evolve, so does PKL. It has been providing aviation training and maintenance services since early in its company’s history.
“We have seen the industry grow and become even more competitive over the years,” Mike says. “This is why we trademarked our proven training program, OmniSpec®, and began introducing more technologically advanced training techniques to include augmented reality and virtual reality.”
The company’s solutions offer its customers the opportunity to train and educate their personnel in any location unaffected by physical or geographical limitations while continuing to attain increased efficiencies and enhanced effectiveness.
Mike and his team have also noted that a lot of companies in the aviation industry continue to struggle with contract limitations and government oversight. Margins are decreasing and competition is increasing. Because of that, PKL has been focusing on a strategic pivot to pursue opportunities in other countries, such as in Latin American countries, and focus on Contract Vehicles with better margins to increase revenue and profitability while also allowing them to work more interactively with its clients directly.
Plans for Future
PKL’s immediate plan for the future is to grow its contract-based revenue by expanding upon its current contracts and aggressively pursuing new contracts. Under the leadership of Mike, the company is already actively pursuing additional and new contracts in multiple regions and countries and expanding its partnered companies to provide fresh opportunities for growth. Mike says that they also continue to market OmniSpec® to more industries and clients to build their past performance and revenue streams into new areas for PKL.
Additionally, Mike and his team continue to pursue efficient and innovative means of operating at PKL. The company has moved to a nearly paperless environment and implemented efficient remote functionality at its corporate headquarters. This has allowed it to hire its corporate personnel from other regions of the U.S. in order to attain the best candidates for positions.
“Overall, we’re very excited about the future of PKL and how we can continue to serve our customers well,” Mike says.