20 Under 40 – Suresh Narayanan

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Aerospace Quality Research and Development
Education: SMU Cox School of Business

Suresh Narayanan’s first job was working for his parents in their aviation business in Miami. Now, he’s COO of Aerospace Quality Research and Development, an engineering firm his brother, Raj, founded in 2002.

“I saw firsthand what it was like to be a business owner,” Narayanan said. “Being a business owner was not always easy, but I witnessed how my parents worked non-stop to keep their small business growing. I saw challenges they experienced from theft and downturns that make me a far better business owner now. I learned how important it was to focus on your people, process, and product and never get complacent.”

Aerospace Quality Research and Development grew from a startup business with two employees to 60 employees. It added a military division in 2018 that specializes in fighter jets to help U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots train.

“I am not afraid to challenge the status quo in an industry that typically struggles with change and outside the box thinking,” Narayanan added.

Narayanan also works to give back to the university that helped him become a successful entrepreneur.

“(The SMU Cox School of Business MBA) program inspired my drive to be an accomplished entrepreneur in the aerospace industry that would never stop grinding for my people and my business,” he said. “I learned grit and grew tremendously from the challenge of growing a startup, getting my pilot’s license, all while finishing grad school.”

Q: What, to date, has been your most impressive or rewarding accomplishment in both your professional and personal life?

A: 1. Professionally, company milestones are important. Recently, we hit 60 employees, which is an awesome milestone that I am proud of. We are continuing to grow and are on track to surpass that in a few months!

2. Another accomplishment I am proud of this year is becoming part of an organization of leaders called YPO. It is an honor to be part of such a prestigious business community at a young age.

3. Personally, my most rewarding accomplishment is becoming father to my son, Ace, in March 2018. I thought I had drive before, but our son Ace exponentially increased my drive to have a positive community and business impact so he can grow up and be proud of his dad. Being able to bring my wife, Amber, and son, Ace, around my business and airplanes is something that makes all the hard work worth it. It also completely changed my perspective on what work/life balance really is.

Q: Tell us about your involvement in the Park Cities and/or Preston Hollow communities?

A: I love to stay involved in so many facets of the community here. My passion for people and business fuel my desire to give back to the business community whenever possible. This comes in the form of mentorship, advisement, and investments. I continue to be supportive and stay involved with the SMU Cox School of Business which keeps me involved in their entrepreneurial support efforts.

Q: What do you love most about your community?

A: I love the amount of entrepreneurial and business passion there is all over Park Cities. I try to meet someone new every day and I am continuously impressed at how many business owners and leaders are in this area. Everyone has a story to tell and something I can learn from; especially with all of the successful and interesting people in the Park Cities community! Park Cities is networking on the daily.

Q: Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

A: Motivation is one of the hardest leadership skills to develop. The ability to continually grow and improve is important and motivation can be challenging to improve on when things are going well. I have to constantly find ways to never settle. I will take a minute to be thankful but the next second I push myself to be the driving motivation for the company to keep working to get to the next level.  Always staying hungry is one of my keys to success.

Q: If you could buy a book (or rent a movie) for your neighbor, what would it be and why?

A: It would be Bad Boys 2.  I am from Miami, which is where the movie takes place. I am always looking for ways to bring the Miami culture to Dallas. They call it Swag back home.

Q: What is your favorite local store?

A: Eatzis 

Q: Where is the best place in the Park Cities or Preston Hollow for a power lunch – what do you order?

A: Hudson House for a whole lobster or Park Cities Club which is always a great buffet and view!

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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