Who is King's Executive Vice President, and Former Brigadier General, Tim Gibson?
Tim Gibson’s ratio of time spent in academia versus his time spent refueling bombers in mid-flight over Kosovo flying a KC-135 Stratotanker (think of a flying gas station, bigger than your 7-11 back home) is more lopsided than one might guess. Before coming to King’s this fall, Gibson spent almost thirty years serving in the United States Air Force, where he attained the rank of Brigadier General. Today, after his daughter Jessica Gibson graduated from The King’s College Class of ’16, he and his wife Nancy and their youngest daughter now live in Brooklyn as Gibson works .
“Over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to meet several sitting presidents,” Gibson said in a sit-down interview.
After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1988, Gibson worked as a flight instructor flying a T37. He then moved on to flying a C-5 (a large cargo plane), and a KC-135 (a massive plane used to refuel smaller jets mid-flight).
“I’ve gotten to fly into locations that were certainly at-risk at the time that we were there – Mogadishu, Somalia in ’93 for example, in some of the same scenarios as the movie Black Hawk Down … I was a part of that. Certainly flying in Kosovo in ’99 was unfortunately more exciting than I would have liked in terms of enemy activity and weather that we were challenged by in the Adriatic from time to time," Gibson noted.
As Gibson obtained higher commands, his responsibilities expanded into working in “Mission Support Group,” which is responsible for planning and evaluating the results of missions in addition to his flying responsibilities. Later in his career, he supervised much of the logistical side of an Air Force base’s operations, managing transportation, food, services, medical facilities, and other operations that are essential to a functioning Air Force.
“It’s been a lot of fun to understand what it really takes to make Air Power happen as an airman”, said Gibson. “But then it also gave me broader experience that I think is relevant to King’s in terms of operational planning, budgeting, just what it takes to keep a college running well.”
As Executive Vice President at King’s, Gibson faces a new challenge.
“Keep the trains running on time… Wiring together things like admissions, enrollment, retention, athletics, student development -- those are all elements that fall under my responsibility when it comes to the administrative side to the college," Gibson said of his role.
Gibson is also the Director for the new Center for Leadership Development at King’s. In this initiative, Gibson plans to use his expertise to start leadership development programs, possibly for King’s alumni in the City or for recruiting potential students.
“One of the things that I’m excited about in that arena is something in the military we refer to as a ‘staff ride,'" Gibson stated.
A staff ride is a battlefield tour turned into a leadership seminar, in which a group of people tour a battlefield and learn from the decisions that commanders made and the consequences of those decisions. The first project that Gibson is working on is a staff ride for the Battle of Brooklyn, the largest battle in the Revolutionary War.
New students at King’s will relate to Gibson’s experience moving into the City. A family of five with one child still at home, the Gibsons have downsized to living in a Brooklyn apartment. They are getting accustomed to walking to get their groceries and using the subway.
“Although a lot of my responsibilities are administrative, the things that I enjoy the most are actually interacting with the students… I’ve had the opportunity to come in as a guest lecturer and engage with the students, and I love it," Gibson noted.
Gibson, who has a Masters in Management from Colorado Christian University, has guest lectured in Principles of Management and Organization, Operations Management, as well as Innovation and Technology. He also advises the King’s Cabinet and has met with all ten House exec teams.
“Has been working with [the King's Cabinet] since August, and he has been an incredible voice of wisdom from day one… General Gibson obviously brings a lot of experience to the table. Yet, he approaches his job with such humility,” Megan Starnes ('18), Director of Finance for the King’s Cabinet, said.
When asked about one piece of advice that he would give to King’s students, Gibson gave a straightforward response.
“Wherever you are, be there. And what I mean by that is be engaged. So if you’re sitting in a classroom, be well prepared and ready to engage on the ideas and the discussion that occurs during that time frame… If all you’re doing is relaxing and playing basketball or watching a soccer game or whatever it is, absolutely fine, but enjoy that activity, be there so that when you walk away from that activity you’re refreshed, you’re ready to get down to business on the business side of life," Gibson added.