John Lonergan – who transitioned from being an RAAF fighter jet pilot to heading innovative Australian military services provider Milskil – said the skills gained during his service with the Air Force presented him with a clear advantage as he moved into a commercial role.
Lonergan said that broadly speaking, for all defence personnel – and particularly those employed on the operational side – the main differentiation with non-military civilian defence industry executives centred on being able to draw on a razor-sharp capacity for quick decision making.
"You are given a number of skill sets that help you analyse problems and achieve an outcome, because in Defence they are trying to achieve an outcome," he said.
"[However], I think there are some other things that you have to take into account to become a business person and one of those is the acceptance of risk and moving out of your comfort zone."
"The journey itself started in 2001 and we got our first chance to actually contract into the Classic Comet Simulator, the simulator they had at that time," he said. "So, once we got in, in about 2003, there was a slow acceptance that you could actually provide these services with the right contractors, operating under the right company construct ethos and culture."
"From there that contract grew to supporting all the classic simulator operations and it started off originally doing the support to what we call the operational conversion," said Lonergan, adding that "now where we find ourselves is, we provide the support all the way through to the high-end post-graduate courses".
"We also provide all the pre-deployment simulator training for current operations," he added.