Jeremy King grew up surrounded by the Skunk Works® culture, from family picnics to hearing about the innovative projects his father and grandfather were a part of. He knew he would one day follow in their footsteps and become a skunk of his own.
Alex King, Jeremy’s grandfather, joined us in the late 1960’s. He was a propulsion engineer at the Sunnyvale, CA, campus before transitionaing to join the Skunk Works in Burbank, CA. Like many Skunks, some professional secrets he took to the grave, but Jeremy eventually learned that his grandfather worked on iconic programs such as the U-2, SR-71, F-117 and, towards the end of his career A-STOVL, the precursor to the X-35B STOVL. Jeremy eventually retired in 1991.
Leroy King, Jeremy’s father, started with us in 1978, working in pricing and business management. Leroy was a key member of the team involved in the capture of the program where Jeremy now serves as Business Manager. While they only overlapped about a year prior to Leroy’s well-deserved retirement, Jeremy says, “It was the most fun I’ve had in my career! I was a new business manager and it was good to have him around, as someone I trusted, and to give advice and act as a sounding board. He had so much experience and taught me about new business captures and other important elements of our business.”
“A big lesson I learned from both of them is no matter the situation, and no matter where you are or what you’re doing—always remember who you are and what you want and how the decisions you’re making align with your values and the kind of leader you want to be.”
Jeremy feels strongly that the work, undertaken by his father and grandfather before him, is worth it. “Things we have been a part of have influenced world events! How many people can say that?”
The King Family has made their mark on the past 80 years of innovation here at Skunk Works, but they aren’t done yet. Jeremy is not the only third generation Skunk to work with us. His brother Jeffrey also works in Supply Chain Operations at Skunk Works®! As a father, Jeremy says it’s too early to tell whether a fourth generation of King’s will follow in the same path laid before them. “Whatever they choose, I think my father and grandfather’s legacy will live on in the kind of people they are and the impact they have on others.”