You'd never guess entrepreneur Steve Harden is a former Top Gun instructor pilot and a commercial pilot for FedEx. That's because his company, LifeWings Partners, earned its wings in the health-care industry.
In 1992, Harden created a crew resource management course for FedEx to improve teamwork and communication among its flight crew. The course's success led to the launch of Crew Training International, which spun off LifeWings in 2005 when Harden realized he could help healthcare workers. "Their problems were identical to [those] in commercial aviation," says Harden, 53. He applied concepts from the Navy and CTI to hospital settings, ultimately reducing errors, mortality rates and employee turnover. Memphis, Tennessee-based LifeWings projects 2007 sales of $2.4 million and has plans for future ventures. Says Harden, "What we do is applicable to any industry [with] teams working together to make quality decisions without much time."