John “Rooster” Clagett: Visual Training Solutions Group, Inc. (A)

19 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Gregory B. Fairchild

Gregory B. Fairchild

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Richard Banyard

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

What makes an industry attractive? What role do innovation and entrepreneurial initiative play in building and sustaining a new business in a competitive industry? The A case presents the story of 14-year U.S. Navy veteran John "Rooster" Clagett, who left his career as a fighter pilot to pursue a business career. That step has landed him where he is at the moment: founder and president of Visual Training Solutions Group (VTSG). Clagett's current product offering is a virtual-reality training system designed for fighter pilots. While VTSG has several current government contracts, all of them are due to deliver in the next few months, leaving the pipeline dry in the near future. Rooster is concerned that he may not have the funding to meet his working-capital needs through the end of the year. In addition to the tactical issue of working capital, Rooster is faced with a decision about the future direction of the company. His product has started to gain traction, and large competitors are starting to take notice. Rooster sees several options: forging ahead and taking the large players head on, creating a plan to try to partner with them, or taking his innovative product in a different direction and to a different industry. He is unsure of the competitive environment in the e-learning industry. Is that industry an attractive place in which to compete? He had gained a foothold in the Department of Defense because of his unique knowledge, but would he be as successful outside his comfort zone? The B case (UVA-ENT-0060) offers a short epilogue revealing Rooster's success in meeting his funding needs, his decision to stay in the defense industry, and the birth of strategic alliances with several large defense contractors.

Excerpt

UVA-ENT-0059

John “Rooster” Clagett:

Visual Training Solutions Group, Inc. (A)

The low rumble of a 757 landing at Dulles International Airport broke the silence of the rainy March afternoon in 2004. John Clagett looked out his office window, but with the low, overcast sky he was unable to see the airplane. “Crappy day to fly,” he thought and he should know. A 14-year veteran of the United States Navy, Clagett, whose call sign was “Rooster,” spent many days like this strapped into the tiny cockpit of an F/A-18, landing on a moving airport in the middle of the ocean. He left his career as a fighter pilot four years earlier to pursue a business career—a step that landed him where he was at the moment, as founder and president of Visual Training Solutions Group (VTSG). Pilots hated being confined to a desk, except on days like this. “Rooster” turned and refocused his thoughts on the computer screen in front of him. He had a tough decision to make: one that would decide the future of his fledgling company.

. . .

Keywords: entrepreneurs, competitive analysis, competition, entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurial managment, entrepreneurship, innovation management, strategic alliance, product management, working-capital management

Suggested Citation

Fairchild, Gregory B. and Yemen, Gerry and Banyard, Richard, John “Rooster” Clagett: Visual Training Solutions Group, Inc. (A). Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0059. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=909034

Gregory B. Fairchild (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/fairchild.htm

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Richard Banyard

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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