All Aboard: Sanford Native Hosts Leadership Courses on Battleship

All Aboard: Sanford Native Hosts Leadership Courses on Battleship


By Noah Grant
The Sanford Herald, N.C.

Sanford resident Ron Hewett has served in leadership development for more than 20 years, coaching businesses on skills to create an efficient work environment.

For the past three years, the retired Naval captain has taken his classes to the sea, hosting groups aboard Battleship North Carolina as part of a program with his employer Academy Leadership. The company is a product of military graduates and has a slogan of “Developing Leaders Who Deliver Results.”

Hewett himself served 24 years of active duty. Upon his retirement, he worked in the maritime industry where he developed management and leadership courses for entry-level managers, mid-grade managers and senior executives.

“We saw a very unique opportunity (on the battleship) to provide this kind of training in an environment where the principles just come alive and it takes people out of the classroom, gets them active and becomes a very interactive process,” Hewett said.

Academy Leadership can serve a range of departments in a company, holding programs for 10-15 people at a time but also hosting smaller groups. In the past, Hewett has worked with city and county governments, banks, industrial organizations and more.

“It’s any organization that has a vision and they want to establish a culture of excellence to support that vision by improving the leadership performance of the individuals, and consequently what those individuals can do as a group,” Hewett said.

For Hewett, the ship helps groups learn the principles better by seeing them in action. Concepts that are taught include “character, integrity, responsibility, accountability, precise communication, managing priorities, sustaining energy while under pressure, teamwork, building a motivational climate and a host of vital 21st Century leadership strategies.”

“This ship is a metaphor for any organization,” Hewett said. “You’ve got somebody in charge. You’ve got a mission. You’ve got various departments responsible for significant operations, administration as well.”

Hewett stressed accountability and communication as two concepts that the ship helps fortify for the groups. With accountability, Hewett will take visitors to the bridge where the officer of the deck and the captain operate the ship. He will tell them how the officer and captain are held accountable in their position.

“There’s no dodging,” he said. “Somebody can’t come up to the captain and say, ‘This accident, a safety accident happened on their ship that killed two sailors.’ Well that captain of the ship is accountable that there should have been the proper training, the proper supervision to prevent those accidents from happening.”

While he helps the groups, Hewett said the organizations work on their own once he’s done talking. The groups will discuss how the principles come into play in their workplace, and how they work effectively together.

“They bring out their own challenges in the jobs that they’re in and how these elements, if brought properly back to the workplace, can be a real positive element to help them achieve their missions in their particular workplaces,” he said.

For more information on the program, visit Academy Leadership’s website at

Reach Staff Writer Noah Grant at 919-718-1229 and on Twitter at @NoahGrantHerald. ___


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