#385. Flying S, Inc.

Posted on | The Agurban

Flying S, Inc.
The following comes from my brother Bob’s blog, Republican Reporter. We loved the story and thought our readers would enjoy it as well. Whenever I get a little depressed about the state of our nation and Illinois, I reflect on Flying S, Inc.

David Shaw, grew up in Palestine, IL (a tiny town of only 1,300 citizens in east central Illinois). An early passion in flying, instilled by his parents, led to an aeronautical engineering degree. Following graduation, David worked for a number of firms before, in his early 30’s, returning to Palestine and forming Flying S, Inc. – an engineering consulting firm.

Accompanying David back to Palestine, was his Australian wife, Penny. Working with David’s father, Penny helped market their prized grass-fed beef, while David consulted for firms around the world. One of David’s clients was having trouble getting a proto-type completed. “Could David help?”, they inquired.

Purchasing a few pieces of machining equipment, David completed the job, and quickly found more demand. He added employees and equipment and even more clients. Flying S had started in a barn. Penny and David occupied the upstairs, while operations occurred on the main floor.

Pretty soon their living space became the office, as every inch was needed for the growing manufacturing activities.

In April, they completed a new 16,000 square foot manufacturing facility. In three short years, they’ve added more than 20 employees, all highly skilled, well paid positions! Today, their manufacturing capabilities include elements for unmanned aircraft used in both the commercial and defense industries. They’ve quickly become the top class supplier for a world market of customers, including NASA!

I was fortunate enough to be present for the grand opening of their new building. More than 250 people were in attendance. Due to my affiliation with the firm that completed the building, I was honored to give a short speech. You might be surprised to learn that the crowd of 250 people gave a standing ovation that day………not for me, but for the person that spoke immediately after me.

David’s father, John Shaw, gave an incredibly moving tribute that brought the crowd to its feet. I’ve kindly received permission to reprint his remarks. Please take the time to read his heartfelt words. I can think of no more fitting post for Memorial Day……………

Get R Done
(Speech by John Shaw at Flying S Grand Opening – April 20, 2012)

Welcome. When our children were young, Patti and I tried to give them opportunities to further their education. Sure, I always tried to direct David toward airplanes. Perhaps the poor child didn’t have a chance. His mother came from a family of aviators and I have been interested in flying for as long as I can remember. David had no problem taking the bait.

What a blessing it is that we live in this great country where we have the freedom to step out, dream big, take a chance, word hard, treat others the way we like to be treated and who knows what good things might happen. Opportunity is available to all. As Glen Beck would say “Small business is the heart of this nation.” It’s what the U.S. is all about.

It’s to the point now that I’m no longer surprised by David and Penny’s accomplishments but I’m impressed. Who could have imagined a facility such as this a short time ago? Who could have guessed we would have been on national TV talking about the farm and business.

It’s great. However there is a reason for serious concern! Like Apollo 13 Lovell said “Houston, we have a problem.” Our problem comes from Washington. We have people in power who are intent on taking away the very freedoms that make things like you see here possible. They can’t stand to see someone rise above another – excepting themselves.

Our grandchildren assembled this puzzle of Emmanuel Lentz’s famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware. Lentz was German-American who went home to Germany in the mid-1800s for a visit. At that time Karl Marx had just completed his “Communist Manifesto” and it was taking Europe by storm. The state would own everything and personal freedom would be nonexistent. Marx’ plan was nothing new; it has never worked and never will but it is the direction we are heading at high speed. Lentz painted the picture to show Europeans that those Yanks on the other side of the pond have a better idea. Forget Marx.
In the boat we find a Scot, a black man, a woman, some farmers, a Native American – all being led by General Washington, General Hand and future President Monroe. He illustrated a government that protects man’s God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; a government where everyone has a chance to better himself.

The war had not been going well for Washington in 1776. They didn’t give up. On Christmas Day they crossed the Delaware at night and attached the Hessians defending Trenton. They had that Get R Done attitude. Washington and his rag tag army were victorious – it turned the tide of the Revolution.

I see the same Get R Done attitude in the people of Flying S. It comes only from a free people.

It is high time for people like each of us here today to make sure future generations have the same opportunities we have had. We need to work hard to defeat anyone who has even the slightest leaning toward Socialism, Marxism, Communism, whatever you want to call it. The future of our nation depends on us. Let’s Get R Done.

Thanks to TWO generations of the Shaw family for keeping me inspired!

We love this story of entrepreneurship. And we love John Shaw’s perspective on keeping our great country free, and dreaming!