Kimberly-Clark sells paper products with big planes

From Kleenex and Kotex to Huggies and Depends, K-C has you covered from nose to tail.

By Mike Potts
Contributing Editor

Members of the Kimberly-Clark aviation department on the ramp at ATW (Appleton WI) with the company's latest Gulfstream V. The aircraft entered service with Kimberly-Clark early this year after extensive refurbishment at Gulfstream's facility at ATW.

Talk about market penetration. Nearly 1 out of every 4 people in the world buys a product from the Kimberly-Clark Corp every day, according to the company's website.

That's more than 1.75 billion people, living in at least 175 countries, who use one or more of the personal care and paper products bearing the company's iconic brands, including Cottonelle, Depend, Huggies, Kleenex, Kotex, Scott, Poise, Pull-Ups and Viva.

It all adds up to a business that recorded $21.1 billion in sales last year and employs more than 58,000 people at manufacturing facilities in 37 countries.

Kimberly-Clark says it's about more than making money. The company says it is "committed to values that improve our future," and backs this up with a slew of awards from independent sources, as well as generous financial contributions.

Most recently the Ethisphere Institute of New York City, an international think-tank committed to advancing business ethics, named Kimberly-Clark to its list of "the world's most ethical companies" for the 2nd year in a row.

In addition, the company was ranked number 4 in the "world's best multinational workplaces in 2012" by the Great Place to Work Institute, number 1 in the consumer goods category in Newsweek's 2012 "green rankings," and number 18 among the "100 best corporate citizens of 2012" by Corporate Responsibility magazine. In 2011 Kimberly-Clark contributed $32.1 million in cash and products to charitable causes.

Not surprisingly, the company supports its extensive business activity with a world-class flight department, based at ATW (Appleton WI), just a few miles from Neenah WI. Neenah is where John Kimberly and Charles Clark—together with Havilah Babcock and Franklyn Shattuck—founded Kimberly, Clark & Company in 1872 to operate paper mills, and where the company still maintains extensive operations today.

Chief Pilot Jason Ideus is responsible for all aspects of the Kimberly-Clark flight department. He has led the department since 2010.

In addition to ATW, the Kimberly-Clark flight department maintains a base at DAL (Love, Dallas TX), near the company's corporate headquarters, which was relocated to the Dallas suburb of Irving TX in 1983.

The department is certified to Intl Business Aviation Council (IBAC)'s Intl Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Stage II standards, designed to foster standardized, safe and highly professional aircraft operations, and is scheduled to attain Stage III IS-BAO certification in Apr 2014.

K-C currently owns and operates 2 Gulfstream Vs. It also operates a Cessna Citation Sovereign through an agreement with another local company. One GV is based at DAL, with the other 2 aircraft based at ATW.

The 2nd GV was acquired earlier this year to support the company's international growth strategies; the GV offers more than double the range of the aircraft it replaced, a Bombardier Challenger 601-3R. Both GVs are 2002 models, and by chance carry consecutive serial numbers—661 for the DAL-based aircraft and 662 for the ATW airplane. The Sovereign under the operating agreement was acquired by its owner about 2 years ago, replacing a Citation 650.

Flight ops

Senior Captains Bob Flottemesch (L) and Robert Zim­merman on the flightdeck of Kimberly-Clark's newest Gulfstream V. Both K-C Gulfstreams have similar avi­onics layouts to help facilitate safe ops.

Heading the Kimberly-Clark flight department is Chief Pilot Jason Ideus, who was named to his current position in 2010. He had joined the Kimberly-Clark flight department as a first officer in 2007. In addition to flying duties, Ideus is responsible for operations, budgeting, forecasting and meeting all legal and tax requirements, as well as for developing and implementing Kimberly-Clark's aviation strategic plan.

Ideus says that he recalls first developing an interest in aviation in the 6th grade when an introductory course in aerodynamics culminated in a flight in a Piper PA28-161 Warrior from BIE (Beatrice NE), his hometown. It was not until he was in graduate school at the University of Indiana in 1999, nearly a decade later, that he earned his private license and vowed to pursue aviation as a career.

After several years as a flight instructor at BMG (Bloomington IN) he joined Pinnacle Airlines as a first officer on Bombardier CRJ200s at DTW (Metro, Detroit MI). It was there he learned from a friend about an opening at Kimberly-Clark.

Ideus maintains his office at ATW, where the department occupies a hangar and office facility. The operation will move into a larger facility on site at ATW in May.

The ATW operation employs 7 pilots, including Ideus, 2 mechanics, a mechanic's assistant and a scheduler. All of the ATW-based pilots are dual-qualified on the GV and the Sovereign. At DAL the department has an additional 4 pilots and another mechanic who occupy a leased hangar and office facility. The DAL pilots fly only the GV.

K-C has a long aviation legacy at ATW, beginning shortly after WWII when the company first acquired aircraft to fly executives to mill locations around the country, particularly in Atlanta GA, where the company still has extensive operations.

In 1969 it launched K-C Aviation as a wholly-owned subsidiary dedicated to maintaining corporate aircraft, as an outgrowth from facilities developed to maintain its corporate fleet. In 1998 K-C Aviation was sold to Gulfstream, which still operates the facilities at ATW as well as the former K-C Aviation operation at DAL. With the sale of K-C Aviation, the Kimberly-Clark flight department began operating as an independent entity.

The department logged more than 1300 hrs last year, including approximately 400 on the recently-replaced Challenger, 450 on the Citation Sovereign and 450 on the DAL-based GV.

The newly-acquired ATW-based GV is expected to fly more hours this year than the Challenger it replaced, as the department supports the company's international growth as well as its K-C Professional and K-C Health Care business units, which are located in Roswell GA, near Atlanta.


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