United States of America
1957 - 2016
Raised in Edison, New Jersey, James Ayoub Kagdis graduated from St. Pius X High School and earned his bachelor’s in history from Wagner College on Staten Island, New York; he was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and the football team. Kagdis earned his master’s in communications from Fairfield University, just 5 miles (8 km) from Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut, where he would work for 35 years.
Joining Sikorsky Aircraft in 1981, Kagdis was assigned to the Research and Engineering Division. In 1984, he became the business development representative for the Sikorsky Aircraft Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX), which became the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche Program. He held various assignments on the Comanche program, including serving as the director of the Joint Boeing-Sikorsky business development effort in the Joint Program Office and the Washington, DC Liaison Office. He also has served as the US Navy and Coast Guard Government business development director and was responsible for current business perpetuation and future requirements development.
Among his proudest professional accomplishments was his leadership role on the X2 Technology Demonstrator program. The X2, which successfully achieved first flight in 2008, received the 2010 Collier Trophy, the year’s top honor in aeronautics and astronautics. During this time, Kagdis was the program manager of Sikorsky’s Advanced Programs Technology & Innovations Research and Engineering, where he was responsible for leading Sikorsky Aircraft’s contracted and internal research and development (CR&D and IR&D) activities. Prior to his current assignment, Kagdis was responsible for Advanced Program Government Business Development. He was most recently Sikorsky’s business development and strategy manager. Kagdis was named a Knight of the Honorable Order of St. Michael in 2014 by the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad-A), recognizing his “significant contributions to the promotion of Army Aviation in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipient’s seniors, subordinates, and peers.”
Jim Kagdis passed away on Sept. 15, 2016, after a 20-year battle against pheochromocytoma (PCC), a rare tumor of the adrenal glands. He was 59.
AHS Update: Vertiflite November/December 2016