NORDAM is a family-owned, global aerospace manufacturing and repair firm headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., employing 2,500 stakeholders across nine facilities on three continents. It is one of the largest independently-owned aerospace companies in the world.

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NORDAM originated in the heart and mind of its founder, Ray H. Siegfried II, on April 1, 1969. Ray was a born leader, an entrepreneur and a boxer with a heart of gold. At the age of 26, after earning his degree from Notre Dame and serving in the Army, he went to work for his grandfather’s insurance firm in Tulsa. It was a fine job, but he wanted something else, a fresh, big challenge that would fully engage his interest and put his massive energy stores to use. While working for the insurance firm, Ray discovered that a tiny operation, for which the insurance firm held a performance bond, was bankrupt. Ray—a newlywed who had tied the knot with wife, Milann, just six months prior—saw opportunity and envisioned that with a new leader and new owner, the sky was the limit. And soon thereafter, he took control of the company. The company’s name was NORDAM, which was so similar to “Notre Dame” (his beloved alma mater) that Ray felt it must be an omen. After all, NORDAM held six of the nine letters, in the correct order, found in the university’s name. So he kept the name, honoring what he saw as providence.

From that point forward, Ray relied on his education, his military background, his sheer inborn optimism and good cheer and Milann’s enduring support, to hire the right people—“stakeholders” he called them—and turn NORDAM around, setting the course for its future. Ray and Milann ‘raised’ their children and their company alike, with family-focused values at the forefront and instilling the golden rule and servant leadership at its core. Throughout his leadership of the company, Ray held fast to his belief that if he hired and brought together the right people, combined with a servant leadership style, the company would soar to great success.

The size of the organization was transformed—largely by Ray’s servant leadership and the philosophy instilled in his predecessors—from a handful of employees in Tulsa in 1969 to 2,500 stakeholders worldwide in 2014. For more than 30 years, he served as chairman and the company’s chief executive officer, and during this time, the firm skyrocketed to global prominence as a leader in aerospace manufacturing and repair and as an employer of choice to thousands of stakeholders around the world. In 2001, Ray was diagnosed with ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Admirably, he continued to lead NORDAM, assisted by other stakeholders, as the disease progressed. He ultimately relinquished his responsibilities as CEO but retained his chairmanship until his passing in October 2005 at the age of 62.

Now run by the same family for nearly five decades—with Milann continuing to serve on the board—the second generation of Siegfried family leadership continually nurtures and grows the unique culture Ray and Milann established in the beginning, which is based on respect for all individuals, caring for each other and a healthy dose of fun in the workplace. Today, the company is achieving new heights under the leadership of Ray’s daughter, CEO Meredith Siegfried Madden.

In addition to Meredith, other Siegfrieds in leadership positions today—all with impressive educational credentials from their Dad’s alma mater, Notre Dame—include T. Hastings Siegfried, Bailey J. Siegfried and J. Terrell Siegfried. Raegen Siegfried joined the team in 2014; he is the son of Ray’s brother, Robin—who also helped build NORDAM.

A far cry from the floundering fabrication shop Ray rescued in 1969, today NORDAM engineers composite solutions for aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers and airlines; designs, certifies and manufactures integrated propulsion systems, nacelles and thrust reversers for business jets; builds composite aircraft structures, interior shells, custom cabinetry, and radomes; and manufactures aircraft transparencies, such as cabin windows, wingtip lens assemblies, flight deck windows, and simulator screens; and is a major third-party provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services to the military, commercial airline and air freight markets.

Customers include Aer Lingus, Airbus, Air France, American Airlines/US Airways, Boeing, Bombardier, British Airways, Cessna, China Airlines, Dassault, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Gulfstream, Pratt & Whitney, Southwest Airlines, UPS, the United States Air Force and Navy, and many others.