Duke Tucker, VP of Business Development UH-60 Black Hawk.
If you are a military or an aviation enthusiast, you are probably well aware of this front-line utility helicopter that has been serving the U.S. Army since 1978, and its variants are operational in 25 international military forces, including the Argentine Air Force, Royal Australian Army, and Colombian Air Force, among others.
The helicopter’s splendor lies in its broad mission versatility, high flight reliability, and ease of maintenance. So much so that it has been given the moniker of the world’s most proven and reliable military utility helicopter.
Thus, it is important that such aircraft fleets are refurbished continuously and customized for nuanced needs so that it continues to remain the backbone of various military and civil operations. Upgrading the UH-60 fleet with 21st-century avionics will only enable the defense forces to perform combat assault, casualty evacuation, border patrol, aerial firefighting, and other combat support roles with more ease and perfection. Driven to unlock this potential, Pinnacle Solutions—a CMMI-DEV, v1.3, Level 3-appraised, AS9100 certified aerospace company—has carved its cornerstone in the aerospace and defense sector. Headquartered in Huntsville, AL, the company comes with more than 12 years of experience to not only provide leading-edge aircraft modernization, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, but also simulator and flight training services through the development of interactive training and maintenance devices, along with technical publications.
“As our services and products cover nearly all aspects of aviation, ground, and maritime training and operations, we tailor our efforts on each specific opportunity, using base ISO 9001 and AS9100 quality management processes as the core for each endeavor. We rely heavily on our ability to successfully repeat our performance to maximize performance, minimize cost, meet or beat deadlines, and mitigate risk for all our customers,” says Duke Tucker, VP of Business Development at Pinnacle Solutions.
While constantly demonstrating such top-tier capabilities, Pinnacle Solutions also ensures that they are at the ‘pinnacle’ of all market trends in the aviation and aerospace domain.
Talking about the aerospace trends over the last decade, Tucker points out that the trend has mostly been toward finding more affordable training solutions on the product side. To support that, Pinnacle persistently develops scalable products that can be effective both for schoolhouse requirements as well as the field. On the services side, however, employee retention has always been a significant challenge in the aviation services market. So Pinnacle heavily focuses on its culture and has already begun its ascent to becoming an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company—providing equity in the business for qualified employees, “which, we believe, will tremendously help in creating a sense of shared ownership and commitment to Pinnacle’s success,” shares Tucker.
Pinnacle’s In-House Experts and Collaborative Culture Breeds Success
Tucker proudly reveals, “We are fortunate that more than half of our employees come from the aerospace industry and most from the military. That gives us a tremendous advantage in being able to understand the needs of our customers and provide solutions that align with those needs.” And, now, riding on this variegated expertise, the company wants to venture into diverse markets. To make that expansion look like a breeze, Pinnacle Solutions is constantly enlisting consultants in key areas to bridge the language and/or cultural barriers that would otherwise be difficult to overcome.
Another facet that makes Pinnacle Solutions a cut above the rest is its unique large company capability with small-scale business culture. That creates a positive differentiator in any competitive environment: “Against a small, we’ll win on capability; against a large, we’ll win on responsiveness and agility and in all likelihood, on price,” Tucker describes how well-equipped Pinnacle is to provide clients the best of both worlds.
And a winning way to maintain this small business culture and mindset is when a company has a perfect synergy between its product development and the service offering. This approach is notably at the core of Pinnacle’s DNA. “We often rely on our service group to provide subject matter expertise on product offerings to better understand customer requirements. Likewise, we can use our technical expertise to provide solutions to challenges that we encounter anywhere across the enterprise,” states Tucker.
When it comes to listening to the ‘voice of the people,’ it doesn’t necessarily always have to be customers outside of the organization. Sometimes, it can be an internal group that needs a tool to improve their efficiency, and Pinnacle would swiftly respond to their requests. For Pinnacle, the motto is: ‘Mission first, people always.’ A case in point is the development of the company’s Publications Tracking Management System (PTMS). Pinnacle’s Integrated Product Support (IPS) team develops and maintains the Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMs) for the U.S. Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s three rotary-wing platforms. This team, and their customer, needed a tool to track Publication Change Requests (PCRs) from submission through the approval process and release. Collaboration between IPS and Pinnacle’s product development team enabled the development of PTMS, which has been providing superior tracking and management since 2014. It also facilitates search capabilities and email integration that sends automatic notifications to the initial submitter throughout the change process while generating metrics and offering valuable insight into the change process. “We continue to support system hosting, maintenance, and annual updates to PTMS,” informs Tucker.
Such an innovative work environment and people-minded approach have made Pinnacle Solutions a real catalyst for change in the aerospace and defense market. And the company’s journey to prepare organizations for the future of aviation will continue to reflect in its technological and organizational roadmap. “We are expanding into some key international markets and should see some tangible results there in the next one to two years,” says Tucker. Amid this growth path, the company’s vision and value proposition would remain at maintaining its small-scale business culture while building new capabilities and defending its core.