Kimberly-Clark flies a Gulfstream G550 based at DAL and a GV from ATW to oversee business worldwide

This 145-year-old company makes personal and health care goods, manufactures in 63 countries and sells its wares in over 175.

By Cindy Youngblood
Contributing Writer

Kimberly-Clark's Dallas-based flight team on the ramp at DAL. From left to right are VP of Global Security Jim Murphy, Chief Pilot Jason Ideus, DOM Yvan Chouinard, Sr Capt Robert Parks, Lead Sr Capt Don Trekell, Sr Capt Stacey Kotrla, Sr Capt Steve Afeman and ATW (Appleton WI) base Sr Capt Bob Flottemesch.

Kimberly-Clark is a Fortune 500 company committed to making essential products people use every day. From Kleenex and Scott paper towels to Huggies diapers and Depends, K-C leads the world in producing personal care paper products that make life easier.

Founded in 1872 by John Kimberly, Charles Clark, Havilah Babcock and Franklyn Shattuck, the company started by operating paper mills. The business was incorporated in 1880 as Kimberly & Clark Company, with John Kimberly as president. In the early days, K-C manufactured newsprint made from linen and cotton rags. The company acquired numerous paper mills and constructed a large pulp and paper-making complex to further their innovations.

They also developed a cotton substitute called cellucotton used by the US Army as surgical dressing during World War I. In 1999, K-C acquired Safeskin and became the #1 producer of examination gloves in the US. Today, this 145-year-old company is one of the world's leading producers of tissue, personal and healthcare products.

In order to reduce environmental impact and increase sustainability, K-C is constantly innovating green solutions. Recently they began using wheat-straw, which grows in less than a year (compared to the 60 years for a tree to grow), in its products. "Focusing on sustainability is good business and makes us a good corporate citizen," states Jim Murphy, vp of global security. "More importantly we are caring for the environment. Our employees take pride in doing the right thing."

K-C's Consumer Product headquarters is located in Neenah-Appleton WI, the Professional Product headquarters are based in Roswell GA and the World Headquarters are in Dallas TX. In total, the company has 216 locations in 63 countries and approximately 44,000 employees globally. K-C provides products to customers in 175 countries.

Launch of the K-C flight dept

Heading the Kimberly-Clark flight department is Chief Pilot Jason Ideus. He joined K-C in 2007 and was made chief pilot in 2010.

As K-C grew, executives and engineers needed better transportation between its Neenah headquarters and the paper mills. To solve this problem, the corporate flight department was launched in 1948 with a 6-pax twin Beech 18 at Winnebago County Airport in Oshkosh WI (now OSH, Wittman Regional Airport).

The company has progressed through a variety of corporate aircraft over the years and executives felt they could balance the costs of its own aircraft by selling service to other users of business aircraft. K-C Aviation Inc was developed in the late 60's and became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1969. The K-C Aviation service center and flight department were moved to ATW (Appleton Intl WI) at that time.

Even though transportation was exclusive to the company, K-C operated the shuttle similar to a scheduled airline. Under then Transportation Sector President Tom Hoeksema, K-C opened its shuttle service to public passengers in 1984 as Midwest Express with 3 Douglas DC9s. By 1989 they had a fleet of 11 DC9s serving 15 cities. In 1995 they got out of Part 121 operations and sold the airline to Midwest Air Group.

K-C Aviation was sold to Gulfstream Aerospace in 1998. Once out of the airline and repair station business, the company put all its focus on product innovation, strategic acquisitions and geographic expansion.

K-C has remained a class user of business aircraft to support its growing global operation. For years, the company has operated King Airs, Hawkers, JetStars, Twin Beechs and several Cessna Citations. In 2012, K-C had a Bombardier Challenger 601-3R at ATW, a 601-3A at PDK (DeKalb–Peachtree, Atlanta GA) and a Gulfstream V at DAL (Dallas Love Field, TX).

The company decided to sell both Challengers, close the PDK base and purchase a long-range international airplane for the ATW base, so they purchased a used Gulfstream V in 2012. Today the K-C flight department operates a GV from ATW and a G550 from DAL.

Executive leadership

Lead Sr Capt Don Trekell flies the DAL-based G550 and is responsible for DAL-based flight operations. He started the original manuals that led to the dept's 1st IS-BAO certification.

VP of Global Security Jim Murphy earned his undergraduate degree in accounting and a law degree from Delaware Law School, now called Widener University School of Law. He planned on becoming a tax attorney but he joined the FBI after passing the bar and spent 5 years in law enforcement.

Murphy joined K-C in Jan 2008. In his position, he protects K-C assets through crisis management, physical security, brand protection and investigative activity to support an ethical culture. Today he leads of team of 13 people, including the K-C chief pilot, and an extended team of over 60 employees who manage and deliver security systems around the world.

Murphy's position requires him to travel about 60% of the time. When it makes sense, he will fly on the company aircraft. But he makes it clear the K-C aircraft primarily transport senior executives and team members who are building and driving the business throughout the world.

"To truly manage a company well, you have to get out into the world and interact with your teams, customers and consumers," states Murphy. "To get a true perspective of customers' needs and best practices, sometimes our execs may visit homes in addition to corporate offices. The company aircraft help us accomplish this effectively and efficiently."


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