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One of the first fighter pilots to fly over NYC after 9/11 speaks in Idaho Falls


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IDAHO FALLS — One of the first F-16 fighter pilots to fly over New York City following the September 11 terrorist attacks spoke in eastern Idaho Thursday afternoon.

Major Anthony “AB” Bourke was a guest of The Buckner Company and addressed several business leaders at Aero Mark on the importance of using fighter pilot principles in their organizations.

“One of the key principles I’m going to talk about is debriefing,” Bourke told before the event. “No fighter pilot has ever flown a perfect mission and I think it’s fair to say there’s not a business leader here that’s going to have the perfect day, the perfect week, the perfect client interaction or event.”

Bourke stressed that after every mission, fighter pilots and their teams hold a debrief. This allows for everyone to offer candid feedback and increases efficiency. He encouraged those in attendance to adopt the practice in their businesses.

“As leaders, we can create an environment in our company where people will give us the honest feedback that we need to make the right decisions that keep us growing and ahead of the competition,” he said.

Bourke was on the east coast for business the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The California native had just boarded a flight to return home when all planes nationwide were grounded.

Knowing he would not be able to return for weeks, he offered to help.

“I was a reserve F-16 pilot at the time so I volunteered to fly Homeland Defense over New York City with the Vermont Air National Guard,” Bourke recalled. “It was obviously a very pivotal moment in all of our lives.”

Following his military career, Bourke joined a California-based start-up company where his team grew annual revenue from $500,000 to $65 million in just three years. He currently serves as CEO & Founder of Mach 2 Consulting.

The Buckner Company holds Buckner Connect events every year for their clients to network and hear from executives of top companies. Previous speakers include Frank Tataseo, a former vice-president of the Clorox Company.