Jim Kagdis, 59, passed away on Sept. 15, 2016, after a 20-year battle against pheochromocytoma (PCC), a rare tumor of the adrenal glands.
Raised in Edison, New Jersey, James Ayoub Kagdis graduated from St. Pius X High School and earned his BA in History from Wagner College on Staten Island, New York; he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and on the football team. Kagdis earned his Master’s in Communications from Fairfield University, just 5 miles from Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut, where he worked for 35 years.
Joining Sikorsky Aircraft in 1981, Kagdis initially was assigned to the Research and Engineering division. In 1984, he was appointed 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 Director, US Navy and Coast Guard Government Business Development, where he 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, a revolutionary compound design that set unofficial speed records for a helicopter. The X2 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 Independent Research and Development (CR&D and IR&D) activities. Prior to this current, Kagdis was responsible for Advanced Program Government Business Development. He was most recently Sikorsky’s Manager of Business Development and Strategy.
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.”
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