This month:

  • Who is driving the plane?
  • Quotes
  • Chesapeake Consulting News

Who is Driving the Plane?

Last week the University of Alabama football team defeated the University of Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, held in Dallas.  The next day, the team flew back to Tuscaloosa on a Delta Flight piloted by one of our former midshipmen.

Linda, Leigh and I first met Bobby when he was a plebe (freshman) at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.  Our family lived in the area for 30 years and during a good portion of that time we sponsored midshipmen.  We were essentially their family away from home and from Friday afternoon to Sunday evenings our home was essentially chaos – fun chaos.  We had a few we formerly sponsored but word would get around and they would just start coming over.  I also picked up a bunch of them at the Baltimore Airport one time.  We have stayed in contact with many.  As a matter of fact, Linda will be picking up Emma, from the Birmingham airport tomorrow.  Emma is the daughter of one of our mids and she is attending Marion Military Institute in hopes she will follow in her dad’s footsteps and be a member of the USNA class of 2026.  Her dad graduated in 1990.

Bobby was from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and so he felt right at home with us.  During his time at the Academy, Leigh was attending the University of Alabama and Bobby’s parents returned the favor and looked after Leigh.  All the kids who attend service academies are outstanding.  Service academies normally are some of the more difficult schools to get into.  Bobby appeared “average” compared to the other midshipmen – that was our assessment.  The first indicator that our assessment was all wet is when he completed flight school by winning the tailhook award – the award given to the most outstanding student pilot.  Upon graduation from flight school, he was assigned to fly the F-16 Hornet, which was the coolest fighter jet in the fleet at the time.

We attended Bobby’s Naval Academy graduation, his flight school graduation and years later his retirement ceremony.  When he retired, he was flying the F-35 which is today’s coolest fighter jet in the fleet.  During his retirement ceremony they mentioned that other than test pilots, no Naval Aviator had been assigned to and flown as many different planes than Bobby.  He had turned down command opportunities to stay in the cockpit.  He is a “pilot’s pilot.”

September 11th is the birthday of Coach “Bear” Bryant, my dad, and my friend Ralph Stokes’s mom.  It is also the day that in 2001 we were attacked by terrorist.  On that day Bobby was stationed on an aircraft carrier that was returning to the US after being on deployment in the middle east.  After the attack, the carrier turned around and sailed back to the middle east.  Bobby was one of the first waves of attack into Afghanistan.  Many countries would not allow our planes to use their airspace so just to get to the target was a huge effort and required at least one air refueling adventure.  After delivering his ordinance he had to return on that long journey and when he arrived, he had to land his plane on an aircraft carrier bouncing around at sea.

Riding on the plane last week was the Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, the defensive player of the year, Will Anderson along with the most successful college football coach in history, Nick Saban.  However, the real hero on the plane was the humble young pilot.  My guess is – no one ever knew.  He was just the guy driving the plane.

So, what’s the point of this blog?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it is a reminder to be in the moment with whoever it is you are with and be curious.  That new neighbor you just met; that new person in your small group; your insurance agent – just might be someone a lot more interesting than you could ever imagine.  You will never know unless you engage.   It may also be a nudge not to judge folks, unless you are a heck of a lot better at it than Linda and me.

Perhaps the point is this: for 2022 make more of an effort to connect with the intent of building relationships.  It will be fun.   Happy New Year!


  1. Bad company corrupts good character.
  2. Your attitude is like the mind’s paintbrush.  It can paint everything in bright, vibrant colors, creating a masterpiece.  John Maxwell
  3. Prepare for war, but arm yourself with love.
  4. If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord, and he will repay you.  Proverbs 19:17
  5. The dog was created especially for children.  He is god of frolic.  Henry Beecher
  6. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?  1 John 3:17
  7. Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid.  John Maxwell
  8. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself.  You are not that important.  Galatians 6:3
  9. You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotions.  The heart comes before the head.  John Maxwell
  10. Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love.  Ephesians 4:2
  11. Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.  Proverbs 16:24
  12. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.  Hebrews 11:1
  13. All of God’s greats have been weak men who did great exploits for God because they reckoned on His being faithful.  J. Hudson Taylor
  14. At some point you must put feet to your prayers.  Put them into the present tense.
  15. People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less.
  16. For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.  Proverbs 15:15
  17. I always have to remember that I am a work in progress.  When I maintain that perspective, I realize that I don’t have to be perfect.  John Maxwell
  18. Love God intensely, and the rest of life straightens out.
  19. From the time of his accident in 1995, to his death in 2004, Christopher Reeve did not know what to expect from life.  No one does.  What matters is what you do when you don’t have the answers.  Josh Mosey.
  20. Experience is not the best teacher.  Evaluated experience is.  John Maxwell
  21. A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.  Proverbs 15:13
  22. Daily renewal is the key to spiritual endurance.

Chesapeake News:

I hope your new year is starting off good.

We have made some changes and done some additional training and the prospects for 2022 already look much better than last year.

Here are some of the products/services we have to help you and your company perform better this year:

  • A variety of behavioral and other assessments for individuals and their development.  We have the traditional DISC assessments and ones on emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence is an area where we can also provide coaching where someone can improve their performance.  Emotional intelligence is believed by many to be more important than IQ.
  • We can provide testing at our facility for the ACT WorkKeys.  Many jobs, including all law enforcement, are required to take these assessments.
  • We provide ACT Job Profiling which goes hand in hand with the Work Keys.  It is a great way to get an excellent job description and increase the odds that someone you hire for a particular job will be well suited for that job.
  • Leadership Development products and services.  We have a variety of courses and activities to help improve leadership skills.  Cows Don’t Stay Milked – there are no leadership magic pills.  It is an ongoing process and we can help supply your resources for that journey.
  • Diversity training.  This has been a hot topic with some large companies such as Coke Cola demanding their employees be indoctrinated in Critical Race Theory.  For nearly a year now, we have been offering small group training using my last book, “Don’t Do Anything Stupid – A White Man’s Guide to Racial Harmony.”  It is a program that focuses on building relationships.  The motto is “relationships ruin racism.”

Ask us about any of those products and services.  We would love to help you.

John Covington