40 Years of Service and Leadership
Colonel Gough was born in Waterford, Ireland on 7
January 1956 and immigrated to the United States in
1960. Settling in Whittier, California he attended St. Paul
High School before moving on to college. He graduated
from California State University Fullerton in January
1980 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and was
commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States
Marine Corps. Upon completion of The Basic School, he
attended Naval Flight Training at Pensacola, Florida. He
was named to the “Commodore's List with Distinction”
and designated a Naval Aviator in October 1981.
Second Lieutenant Gough reported to Marine Aircraft Group-39 (MAG-39) at Camp Pendleton, California and was assigned to the Aviation Maintenance Department of Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron-169 (HMA-169) as an AH-IT Cobra attack helicopter pilot. In January 1984 First Lieutenant Gough deployed (1 st deployment) to the Western Pacific aboard USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (Composite), 13th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) serving as the Aviation Ordnance Officer. Returning to HMA-169 in July 1984, he was assigned to the Operations Department, concurrently fulfilling collateral duties as a Forward Air Controller/Air Officer with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.
In July 1985 Captain Gough deployed again (2 nd deployment) to the Western Pacific aboard the USS Okinawa (LPH-3) with HMM(C)-164 and the 31st MAU. Returning to HMA-169 in January 1986, he was assigned as the Logistics Department Head until February 1987, when he attended the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course (Marine Corps equivalent of the Navy’s “Top Gun” School). During the summer of 1987, he was among the initial cadre of aviators to transition to the new AH-IW “Super Cobra” attack helicopter.
Late in 1987, with less than 72 hours’ notice, Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron-169 (HMLA-169) and Captain Gough deployed (3 rd deployment) aboard the USS Okinawa to the Persian Gulf as part of Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force (CMAGTF) 1-88 taking part in Operation Earnest Will. There he served as the Squadron Tactics Department Head, AH-1W combat mission Flight Leader, and a CMAGTF 1-88 aviation operations mission planner until returning to Camp Pendleton in April 1988. Later that year he was nominated for the Association of Naval Aviation's "Outstanding Achievement Award for Helicopter Aviation"
In July 1988, he was reassigned to MAWTS-1 in Yuma, Arizona as an AH-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor and Cobra Attack Helicopter Division Head. Taking a leave of absence from MAWTS-1, Major Gough deployed (4th deployment) to the Persian Gulf in November 1990 with HMLA-169 aboard the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) as a Plans Officer for the 4th and 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEB) during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also flew combat missions in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations as an AH-1W Flight Leader.
Upon returning stateside, he rejoined MAWTS-1 and was designated as the Project Officer for the Chief of Naval Operations; classified project "Stadium Clock"; Major Gough was transferred from MAWTS-1 to HMLA-169 at Camp Pendleton in June 1992 and served sequentially as the Logistics, Administrative, and Tactics Department Heads until May 1993 when he deployed overseas (5th deployment) as the HMLA-169 Detachment Officer-In-Charge to HMM(C)-262 and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3). He was assigned as the Composite Squadron Aviation Maintenance Officer and assumed collateral duties as a MEU aviation operations mission planner. For his service he was nominated for the Marine Corps Association's 1993 "General Holland Smith Award"; Returning to HMLA- 169, he was assigned as the Squadron Operations Officer until May 1994. Major Gough attended the United States Air Force, Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama during the 1994-1995 academic year. In July 1995, he reported to the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, as a US Special Operations Command Team Member. In August 1996, he was assigned as the US Special Operations Command Team Chief, responsible for managing numerous classified programs addressing Information Operations, Information Warfare, and Command and Control Warfare in support of special operations training and "real world" requirements. Concurrently, he founded, developed, published, and edited the first of its kind periodical on Joint Information Operations called "Cyber Sword."
In May 1998, Lieutenant Colonel Gough reported to Camp Pendleton and assumed the duties as MAG-39 Executive Officer. On 9 April 1999, Lieutenant Colonel Gough assumed command of Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron-169. Having provided a detachment to the 11th MEU(SOC), in June 1999, HMLA-169 deployed to Okinawa, Japan (6th deployment) as part of the Unit Deployment Program for seven months whereupon the Squadron assigned a detachment to the 31st MEU(SOC). On 17 November 2000, Lieutenant Colonel Gough relinquished command of the Squadron. The Squadron was subsequently awarded the Marine Corps Aviation Association Mike Yunck Award for Operational Excellence and the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award as a result of their achievements. Lieutenant Colonel Gough was nominated for the “General John A. Lejeune Award for Inspirational Leadership.” Following post-command leave,
Lieutenant Colonel Gough reported to the 3 rd Marine Aircraft Wing serving as the G-3 (Operations Officer) until June 2001, when he detached from 3 rd MAW to attend the Naval War College.
Lieutenant Colonel Gough was the first Marine to be named to the prestigious Mahan Scholars Program at the Naval War College. As such, he was tasked with developing the “Marine Corps’ Component of the Maritime Strategy in the Global War on Terrorism in 2015” for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC). In June 2002, he graduated “with Distinction” from the Naval War College receiving a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and reported for duty to the First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) as the Air Officer within the Operations Department and subsequently assumed the duties as the Deputy G-3 (Deputy Operations Officer). He was promoted to Colonel on 1 July 2002. Colonel Gough deployed to Kuwait (7th deployment) in November 2002 with the I MEF Command Element where he served as the Deputy G-3 during pre-combat exercises as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) combat operations.
Subsequent to OIF I, he served as I MEF G-3 (Operations Officer) in support of OIF II. In June 2005, Colonel Gough assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 39 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. In the fall of 2006, he deployed (8th deployment) to the Al Anbar province in Iraq, flying daily combat sorties with his deployed squadrons. Colonel Gough relinquished command of MAG-39 in June 2007. During his tenure in command of MAG-39, the HMLA Squadron of the Year Award was bestowed on a MAG-39 squadron twice, the Pete Ross Aviation Safety Award was awarded to two MAG-39 squadrons, the HMM Squadron of the Year Award was presented to a MAG-39 squadron, the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Excellence Award was given to a MAG-39 Squadron, and eight Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards were awarded to MAG-39 squadrons. Four squadrons per year and five Marine Expeditionary Units’ HMLA Detachments from one MAG-39 squadron were constantly deployed forward, in combat operations during Colonel Gough’s command tour. Following relinquishment of Group command, he served as the Deputy Commander for Marine Corps Installations West, overseeing all Marine bases west of the Mississippi River.
Colonel Gough has achieved over 3,800 flight hours and approximately 100 combat flight sorties, and has been awarded the Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, the Air Medal with the Numeral 2, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon and numerous other unit and personal awards.
In November 2008, Colonel Gough retired from the
Marine Corps with 30 years of active duty service and
assumed the position as Executive Director of Human
Resources and Organizational Development for the
Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). At
OCTA, his division contained the following
departments: Human Resources; Health, Safety, and
Environmental Compliance; Risk Management; Labor
and Employment Relations; Training and Development;
and Management Services (Strategic Plan
Development). He served as the Acting CEO during
June/July 2009 and Acting Deputy CEO during August
2012. Some of his additional responsibilities included:
OCTA liaison to the Transportation Corridor Agency for
toll road construction; OCTA Budget Review Committee;
Chairman of the Contractor Drug and Alcohol Compliance
Committee; Responsible for OCTA Strategic Plan development; Lead negotiator with Teamsters Union and the Transportation
Communication International Union for six Collective Bargaining Agreements; Chairman of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Labor Relations Subcommittee of the HR Committee; Chairman of the National Academy of Science
Transportation Research Board Expert Safety Culture Panel; Member of the Eno Center for Transportation Leadership Board of Advisors for the National Transit FellowsProgram; Member of the APTA Marketing Committee’s Military Initiative Task Force.
As of August 2014, Colonel Gough resigned from OCTA and accepted a position as Vice President of Human Resources with PKL Services, Inc. in Poway, California. PKL Services, Inc. is a leading aerospace maintenance, training, and logistics company specializing in domestic and international service support contracts for military and commercial aviation enterprises. He was responsible for all workforce-related activities, retaining full management authority for the Company’s Human Resources functions to include health and welfare benefits, state and federal compliance, risk management/insurance, legal oversight, compensation, recruitment and retention, workforce development, labor and employee relations, Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Plan requirements, leave management, and HR Information Systems. Additionally, served as a partner with The Callan Course, a leadership
development program for organizations that focuses on the workforce, at all levels, by providing a foundation of leadership tenets and cultivates the leaders of the future, establishes sound succession planning practices, and provides coaching/mentorship for employees from the entry level through the executives.
On August 1, 2015, Colonel Gough was promoted to Chief Operating Officer at PKL Services, Inc. PKL Services, Inc. was subsequently ranked by Bloomberg Government in the Top 20 worldwide for Defense Training & Simulation Opportunities. In 2016, he became the Secretary on the PKL Services, Inc. Board of Directors. Reporting directly to the CEO and working as a key member of the Company’s leadership team, Colonel
Gough was responsible for building, executing, and overseeing all of the Company’s systems, processes, workflows, and procedures. He retained responsibility for the daily operations and executing the strategic vision of the Company in a dynamic international marketplace with nearly $750 Million in contracts, both domestically and internationally. He was responsible for oversight of his Direct Reports which include the Human Resources Department, Compliance Department, Finance Department, Accounting Department, Contracts and Program Management Department, Marketing and Communications Department, and the Business Development Department. He was instrumental in developing new business opportunities in foreign military sales contracts throughout Asia and the Middle East, resulting in the awarding of a $495 Million foreign
military sales contract in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. PKL has foreign military sales and direct commercial sales contracts in Singapore and Thailand as an aviation maintenance and training services company and has expanded the training capability by trademarking a full spectrum training system known as OmniSpec. He also assisted in expanding the diversity of the corporate portfolio through innovative approaches to new
business initiatives domestically and overseas through investments in manufacturing and product development. He continued to focus on sustaining the core business of the Company while building new relationships and nurturing relationships with global partners and customers. In 2017, PKL Services, Inc. was recognized by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce as the 2017 Member of the Year for the Veterans Honor Roll for
hiring veterans. Over 90% of the PKL employee workforce are veterans.
From 2016 to 2018, Colonel Gough served as the Chairman of the “A Million Thanks” Foundation Board of Directors, a non-profit veterans support initiative that assists the American populace in sending letters of gratitude to deployed members of the U.S. military, providing betterment of life gifts and educational scholarships to the members of the military and their family members. Additionally, he has served as a member of the VetNet Business Network Board of Governors and the Marine Executives Association (MEA) Board of Directors fostering employment opportunities for veterans. Colonel Gough also serves as an Advisory Board Member to the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University Fullerton and was the President of the California State University Fullerton Alumni Association. In 2018, he became a Member of the Chief Operating Officers’ Forum, San Diego Chapter. He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Semper Fi/America’s Fund, UBIQ Security Inc., and Drone Aviator, Inc. He recently agreed to serve as a Client Advisory Board Member to The Rayburn Wetsel Group, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. and the Marine Corps Aviation Association Board of Advisors. In 2021, Colonel Gough became an Advisory Board Member to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum and Foundation. In February 2020, Colonel Gough assumed the position as CEO/President of PKL Services, Inc. and became the Vice Chairman of the PKL Services, Inc. Board of Directors. He is a member of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce Military Advisory Committee as well as the National Small Business Association Leadership Council. 2020 and 2021 were the first two years of the COVID-19 global pandemic. During 2020, PKL sustained exceptional performance on all contracts worldwide and increased the value of the Company by $20 Million. In 2021, PKL hit its stride with more contract awards than any other twelve-month period in the history of the Company while the Corporate office staff operated from over 35 “virtual” offices through the United States without missing a beat. The Company saw the highest annual revenue, the highest annual profits, and highest annual percentage of revenue as profit in its history during 2021. During the two years as CEO/President of PKL, the value of the Company rose by almost $70 Million and the Company hired an additional 200 employees worldwide, bringing the total workforce number to almost 600.
As of December 2021, Colonel Gough retired from PKL as CEO/President and Vice Chairman of the PKL Board of Directors. During the two years as CEO/President, PKL and Colonel Gough were the recipients of numerous awards which included:
Top 10 MRO Companies in 2021 by Aerospace and Defense Review
Recognition in the Veterans Administration Special Edition of the USA Today
Top 20 Dynamic CEOs of 2021 by the CEO Publication
The 50 Most Admired Companies of 2021 by the Silicon Review
The 20 Most Influential Business Leaders of 2021 by the Global Business Leaders
The Top 10 Most Inspiring CEOs to Watch by the CIO Look
The Top 10 Most Inspiring Business Leaders Making a Difference by Beyond Exclamation
San Diego Top Workplace by the San Diego Union Tribune
Best Employers for Veterans by Monster.com and Military.com
The Most Influential Business Person of the Year, 2021 by Prime Review
Expose’ by the Montel Williams Television Series Military Makeover: Operation Career
In 2018, Colonel Gough founded Poseidon Consulting LLC and is now devoting his time and energy providing subject-matter-expertise to various companies in a consultative, advisory and/or Board Member capacity. Residing in Carlsbad, California, he has been married to the former Karen L. Chute of Orange, California for almost 44 years, and they are the proud parents of son Kyle, age 36, and daughter Tara, age 33, as well as the grandfather to Logan, Aiden, Parker, and Cooper.