Wings Magazine

Flying above the crowd

Finding (and retaining) dynamic employees who can lead, innovate and transform corporate cultures is a goal management teams nationwide are always striving to attain.

July 8, 2014  By Stacy Bradshaw

Finding (and retaining) dynamic employees who can lead, innovate and transform corporate cultures is a goal management teams nationwide are always striving to attain. And with a looming crisis of retiring pilots, maintenance workers and other skilled aviation and aerospace professions, the search for these multi-dimensional all-stars is suddenly paramount.

Fortunately, Canada is blessed with talented young aviation and aerospace personnel and many are under the age of 40. In  Wings and Helicopters second annual next-gen leaders special report, we proudly highlight some of these top achievers – men and women who have helped transform their organizations in maintenance, business operations, flight operations and more. And this year, we’ve taken it up a notch – highlighting 20 top achievers who are making their marks in their respective organizations.

The 20 individuals featured here were carefully selected by our editorial team following an online contest that ran earlier this spring. Candidates were nominated by colleagues based on their influence to drive change, leadership skills, commitment to clients/colleagues, and their forward thinking towards the industry as a whole. In most cases, nominators had several years of experience working with the candidates, observing how they cultivated their skills and grew in their respected spheres.

Featured alphabetically, our Top 20 Under 40 achievers represent the resourcefulness, commitment and dedication organizations are craving in today’s marketplace. On behalf of the nominees, candidates and winners, we thank you for your support and salute the achievements of all who participated.


NAME: James Ball
TITLE: Associate Lawyer, Whitelaw Twining Law Corporation
LOCATION: Vancouver


James Ball, 34, is a licensed commercial pilot, author of the book, “So, You Want to be a Pilot, Eh?” and an aviation lawyer at Whitelaw Twining Law Corporation in Vancouver.

A graduate of Seneca College’s Aviation and Flight Technology program, Ball was previously a first officer on fixed-wing medevac aircraft and then a captain and training captain on charter aircraft in Northern Manitoba and Nunavut.

Having had his fill of the life of a northern pilot, Ball returned to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and his law degree. While in school, he wrote the book, “So, You Want to be a Pilot, Eh?” which provides career advice for aspiring pilots. The book has sold more than 2,000 copies and has been a valuable resource for many aspiring men and women entering the profession.

Ball is now a key part of the aviation legal team at Whitelaw Twining, and he’s helped build a law practice defending mostly operators and pilots in legal actions arising from aircraft accidents. In addition to providing career advice to readers of his book, Ball regularly writes and speaks on various aviation law topics. He also continues to contribute articles to various industry-specific magazines.

Ball’s commitment to the legal and aviation communities is commendable, particularly given his young age – he has achieved more than most could hope for before turning 40.

NAME: Brenden Beaudoin
TITLE: Pilot, Air Canada
LOCATION: Edmonton


It’s fair to say that Brenden Beaudoin lives and breathes aviation . . . and has for his entire life.

Beaudoin, 31, is a pilot with Air Canada (AC) and is living a life many only dream of – working as a commercial airline pilot with Canada’s national airline. He started his career journey on one of the most vaunted days in history – Sept. 11, 2001 – at the Centennial flight school in Edmonton.

Working diligently, Beaudoin attained his commercial pilot’s licence in 2005 and commenced a career path that has taken him all around the globe with a variety of different aviation firms. He has worked in a wide range of capacities, from loading cargo, to fueling and marshaling jets and has flown tourists in the world-famous Okavango Delta and different parts of Southern Africa, before returning to work as a bush pilot in Canada.

Beaudoin’s career path has also taken him to the charter business for five years, and flying medevac flights before joining AC in 2012 at age 29. Beaudoin is also starting his own aviation consulting company and is very active in Edmonton’s remote-control airplane community.

An active advocate of Canadian airports – and a strong proponent of Canada’s rich aviation history – Beaudoin is the perfect example of a young pilot who is willing to do anything to reach his or her ultimate career goal.

NAME: Peter Betz
TITLE: Director of Maintenance, Slave Lake Helicopters
LOCATION: Slave Lake, Alta.


Peter Betz prides himself in consistently keeping the blades turning at Slave Lake Helicopters.

For the past seven years, the 33-year-old Betz has been the Director of Maintenance for Slave Lake, initially earning the position at the young age of just 26.

Betz graduated from Northern Northern Lights College in 2000 and began his apprenticeship with Northern Mountain Helicopters (NMH). He subsequently moved to Vancouver Island Helicopters (VIH) along with the assets of NMH when the company went out of business. Hardly skipping a beat, Betz performed field and heavy maintenance for VIH and also managed remote bases such as Ft. Nelson and Sandspit on the Queen Charlotte Islands for extended periods of time.

As a 25-year-old, Betz was in the process of settling in as Heavy Maintenance Shop Supervisor at VIH’s Prince George facility – and had just finished completing a pair of pre-purchase inspections in northern Manitoba – when he received a call from a trusted colleague. He was told a “friend” had just toured Slave Lake’s brand new hangar (still in final construction) and the owners were looking for someone to come on board and “pick the colour of their new office.” The “friend” immediately thought of Betz to pick the colour.

After Betz and his wife met with the owners, they decided to take the plunge. The plan was to have Betz work as a contract engineer under Tempest Maintenance Solution’s AMO, the company’s maintenance partner at the time. Slave Lake had every intention of creating an AMO position for Betz, but he was too young to legally hold the Director of Maintenance designation. In 2007, however, he successfully completed his AMO designation and gained Transport Canada approval to become Director of Maintenance for Slave Lake.

A tremendous mentor with a terrific attitude and vast knowledge of his role, Betz is an integral part of the Slave Lake team and a shining light in the industry.

NAME: Scott Conlin
TITLE: Chief Engineer, Calgary Police Services Air Support Unit


If anyone in Canadian aviation deserves the label “unsung hero,” Scott Conlin just might be it.

Conlin, 36, is the Chief Engineer of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) Air Support Unit in Calgary and like many aviation personnel working behind the scenes, he is one of the critical elements that contribute to the success of the organization.

The Calgary Police Service operates two helicopters in support of police operations for a city of 1.2 million. The CPS Air Support Unit was created in 1995 after the tragic line of duty death of Cst. Rick Sonnenberg and has been operating ever since thanks to the Helicopter Air Watch for Community Safety (HAWCS) program. Four years after its inception, Conlin joined the operation as a contract engineer.

Conlin began his permanent career as a Line Engineer, and in 2004 was promoted to the position of Chief Engineer. Since then, his unit has grown from a single helicopter operation flying less than 1,000 hours per year to an operation flying more than 2,500 hours a year. He has strived to ensure the unit’s maintenance requirements meet or exceed the commercial standard and is committed to the unit’s safety above all else.

Conlin is always on the lookout for new technologies and continually tries to ensure that his unit is operating at the highest technological level possible. He has worked tirelessly to understand the mission of Airborne Law Enforcement and continually goes above and beyond to ensure his crews have the tools they need to execute their missions effectively. His dedication to his role and commitment to incorporate the highest safety standards possible are certainly worth celebrating.

NAME: Robert Cote Jr.
TITLE: Quality Assurance Manager, Canadian Helicopters Ltd.
LOCATION: Edmonton


Robert Cote Jr. perfectly embodies the concept of “work ethic.”

Never content to accept “good enough,” the 37-year-old Quality Assurance Manager with Canadian Helicopters Ltd. is driven on a daily basis to perform to the highest standard and to encourage and mentor both peers and subordinates in the same goal.

Since his first days as an apprentice aircraft maintenance engineer, Cote Jr. has demonstrated a strong intellect and a desire to learn. Whether working as a Product Support Engineer for Bell Helicopter or working as the Bell Maintenance Manager for Canadian Helicopters, he knows the importance of customer service. His work with third-party suppliers and with Canadian, has allowed him to leverage his skill sets to create a valuable toolkit and reputation as a top-notch AME. And his unwavering personal high standards have helped him to ascend to the role of Chief AME for Western Canada within Canadian Helicopters and subsequently to his current position.

Cote Jr.’s interpersonal skills are a big part of his success. His relationship with a variety of OEMs, third-party vendors and regulators has facilitated the company’s success on many levels. These relationships have expanded to tripartite discussions with airworthiness inspectors from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada and have greatly enhanced Canadian Helicopters and its parent, HNZ Group Inc., in its operations worldwide.

Professional, smart, driven, keen to learn, and reliable, Cote Jr.’s work speaks volumes as it epitomizes the phrase “industry best practice.”

NAME: Darryl Cross
TITLE: Pilot, Flight Logistics Manager, Bell Aliant


For the past 10 years, Darryl Cross has been a shining star for Halifax-based Bell Aliant.

The 36-year-old’s resume is certainly an impressive one. Private Pilot’s licence from the Interlake International Flight Centre, check. Class A Licenced Dispatcher from Air Canada Jazz, check. Commercial Pilot’s Licence from the Moncton Flight College, check. Multi Engine IFR rating from Greenwood Flight Centre, check. Cross also hold a diploma in Aircraft Mechanics.

From a professional standpoint, Cross has demonstrated a strong work ethic and outstanding leadership qualities throughout his career. He kicked things off as a Line Service Technician with Provincial Airlines in the late-1990s before moving to Air Canada Jazz as a Certified Class A Flight Dispatcher with Air Canada Jazz in the early-2000s. He moved to Bell Aliant in 2004 and has held various roles for the firm, including Flight Scheduler, Pilot and Flight Logistics Manager, Apprentice AME and more.

Cross continually leads by example through the development of new initiatives and procedures to assist and guide others in making informed decisions. He demonstrates excellent project management skills and exhibits strong leadership and organizational skills in the completion of many critical projects.

Active in the aviation industry in a variety of roles, Cross inspires others with his positive attitude, exceptional work ethic and interest in developing and expanding his knowledge in the industry. He is truly a shining star when it comes to the next generation of aviators, engineers and aviation professionals.

NAME: Chris Davenport
TITLE: Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Ornge
LOCATION: London, Ont.


Juggling a variety of different tasks in high-tempo, demanding environment is something Chris Davenport thrives on.

Davenport, 26, is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer based in London, Ont., with Ontario medical transport provider Ornge. He has spent the past seven years keeping S-76 and AW139 helicopters in the skies and, at times, the work can be quite demanding. Time is of the essence with Ornge, where seconds saved in maintaining the aircraft can mean lives are saved as well – and that can’t be done when the birds are on the ground. Aircraft need to be available for dispatch and Davenport works hard to ensure this is the case.

Davenport has a wide range of responsibilities at the base including technical records, storing shipping and receiving requests, computer/IT issues, general housekeeping, training and much more. If there’s an avionics snag at the base, Davenport is your man – he will find a fast, effective solution for safe rectification. The ever-evolving computer-based aircraft systems at Ornge require an IT-like finesse job, and Davenport certainly has the acumen to deliver.

Proactive and thoroughly on board with the team concept, Davenport instills a “happy-go-lucky” attitude and positive vibe that keeps the Ornge team in London focused and ready for action.

NAME: Joshua Derish
TITLE: Avionics Engineer, Avmax Avionics
LOCATION: Richmond, B.C.


Joshua Derish is rapidly building a solid reputation as a “go-to-guy” at Avmax Avionics.

At just 28, Derish has managed to attract clients from all over the world to Avmax’s Richmond, B.C., location, as customers fly in from locations throughout the globe with assurances that their avionics needs will get looked after with the highest degree of reliability, knowledge and experience.

One of the best examples of Derish’s accomplishments took place during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He was instrumental in his role during the Games, supporting all of the corporate aircraft that flew into the city. For two weeks, he provided 24-hour support and troubleshooting for Learjets 35/36, 45, 60, Challengers, Falcon 50EX, Globals, Gulfstreams and more.

It may have been only two weeks, but these busy days created a lasting impression with customers . . . and he hasn’t missed a beat since. He classifies his greatest strength as an ability to troubleshoot pretty much any problem and never giving up until it’s rectified.

NAME: Anthony Dyck
TITLE: Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Fast Air Ltd.
LOCATION: Winnipeg


For Anthony Dyck, leading by example is simply a way of life.

The 33-year-old has spent the past decade honing his skills as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer with Winnipeg’s Fast Air Ltd. and has developed into one of the company’s brightest young talents.

Dyck has been instrumental in helping the company expand its third-party maintenance capabilities by providing aircraft upgrades with Garmin and HALO products. He has also been recognized by Gulfstream to sit on its Customer Advisory Board, in which he has been an active member for the past two years.

Respected as a true leader within Fast Air’s dynamic and broad maintenance business, Dyck manages the complexity of a charter fleet, medevac fleet, multiple managed jets, as well as Bell Jet Rangers. He does it all with a focus on teamwork, the customer, and maximum efficiency.

Dyck is a member of the Central Aircraft Maintenance Association (CAMA) and promotes the benefits of its membership to all AME’s and apprentices. He was also responsible for encouraging Fast Air to become a member of the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace (CCAA), and sees the value in occupational standards for the industry.

He is also active in supporting and developing the Fast Air team and has been instrumental in the growth of the company fleet and its AMO capabilities. He is a fine example of the emerging leadership in the Canadian aviation industry.

NAME: James Elian
TITLE: Chief Operating Officer, AirSprint Inc.


James Elian has certainly made the most of his developing aviation career.

Elian, 34, joined AirSprint in 2001 as a Pilatus PC-12 first officer and has since held various positions including Vice President, Operations, Director of Flight Operations, Chief Pilot, Special Projects Manager, Flight Coordination Manager, Health & Safety Chairman and Training Captain.

His impressive education includes a diploma in aviation technology from Selkirk College, an MBA from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, and he is currently finishing up a Master’s of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

In 2011, Elian led AirSprint’s operational expansion to the U.S. by attaining FAA 91K fractional ownership approval. It was this experience that allowed Elian to work with Transport Canada in developing the current Canadian Fractional Ownership national exemption.

In April this year, Elian was appointed Chief Operating Officer. In each of his roles, he has made innovations and improvements to the inherent processes of each department and, as a result, AirSprint is now recognized as one of the best-run aviation companies in North America.

In the larger aviation community, Elian is an active member of the Selkirk College Aviation program advisory committee and has volunteered with the CBAA Government and Regulatory Affairs committee. Elian also holds an Airline Transport Pilot Licence and is qualified as Captain on the Citation XLS and CJ2+ jets.

A gifted leader and manager, Elian’s strong work ethic and drive for success make him an invaluable part of the AirSprint team.

NAME: Auriol Marasco
TITLE: Aviation Lawyer, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
LOCATION: Toronto, Ont.


As an associate at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Auriol Marasco has focused on aviation law for the past five years.

Marasco is developing into one of Canada’s leading aviation law experts. She has gained significant experience negotiating and drafting aircraft purchase agreements, credit agreements, leases and security agreements. Liaising with counsel for several airlines and aerospace companies, she frequently provides advice relating to aircraft financing and regulatory matters. Her experience also includes working for Porter Airlines in various departments including contracts and marketing, as well as for Hope Air, a not-for-profit aviation organization which partners with airlines and private pilots to ensure Canadians have access to medical resources.

Marasco is the author of several legal papers in the aviation field on such topics as the Cape Town Convention and its implementation in Canada, aircraft leasing in the United States, and airline consumer protection legislation.

As a current commercial multi-IFR pilot, Marasco is always looking for an excuse to take to the air. She is a member of the Ninety-Nines, an international female pilots organization, where she is the Secretary of the Constitutional Committee and a volunteer with the annual Poker Run flying competition. She is also an enthusiastic member of Women in Aviation, a volunteer for Women in Aerospace and an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association Air and Space Law section.

Marasco’s passion for flight is complemented with a degree in Commercial Aviation Management, a program that combined an analysis of the business of the aviation industry with the technical aspects of flight. Beyond all of her many accomplishments, she is a pleasure to work with – smart, funny and dedicated to law and to aviation. She is a true leader in her field.

NAME: Shane Menzel
TITLE: Smithers, B.C. Base Manager, Highland Helicopters
LOCATION: Fort Nelson, B.C.


When opportunity knocked, Shane Menzel definitely knew how to respond.

Although considerably less experienced than helicopter pilots usually considered for the substantial responsibility inherent in effectively managing a multi-helicopter base in northern British Columbia, Menzel, 38, seized the opportunity when it was presented to him.

He immediately set about rectifying a variety of shortcomings in base procedures, facilities and staff, reorganized and improved numerous functions, and originated several highly effective new ones.

In an exceptionally trying environment, and a hotly competitive market, he guided the base to an exemplary status and regained solid profitability in his first year. Duly acknowledged by management and fellow employees, he was also highly commended by major clients.

Always seeking and ready to seize new opportunities for both personal growth and company benefit, he is rated among Highland Helicopters’ exceptional employees. Upper management is unanimous in affirming they would be thrilled to have one or two dozen more employees like him – and there’s no higher corporate honour than that.

NAME: Helen Papathanasakis
TITLE: Chief Operating Officer, Sky Regional Airlines
LOCATION: Mississauga, Ont.


Helen Papathanasakis is a skilled leader who fully understands the importance of developing an effective corporate culture.

Papathanasakis, 35, is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Sky Regional Airlines in Mississauga, a regional airline operating a fleet of five Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft as well as 15 Embraer 175s on behalf of Air Canada Express. The company provides 30 scheduled flights daily between Toronto City Airport and Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, and approximately 100 flights a day to various airports in the U.S. Northeast out of Lester B. Pearson Airport and Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. It is Papathanasakis’ job to provide requisite leadership and direction.

Papathanasakis has been with Sky Regional since the inception of the airline in 2010 and has been actively involved in employee relations and building a strong company culture, with the emphasis of putting people first.

Her accomplishments throughout the last few years include the successful implementation of the Safety Management System (SMS) for the airline, leading regulatory audits and organizational development. She has also played a key role in the expansion of the E175 program in the past year.

Focused, determined and professional, Papathanasakis is certainly an emerging force in the Canadian fixed-wing community.

NAME: Jean-Phiippe Pomerleau
TITLE: Director, Account and Production Management, GAL Aerospace
LOCATION: Montreal


Jean-Philippe Pomerleau, 30, is a customer-focused problem-solver with a tremendous capacity to learn and integrate new ideas and processes to improve production efficiencies and better address customer needs.

Pomerleau is a graduate of Quebec’s école nationale d’aérotechnique in Construction Aéronautique. He began his career in 2005 with Bombardier Aerospace as a Methods Agent on the Global XRS. After gaining experience in special projects such as the integration of swift broadband high-speed Internet service, and Satcom relocation, he participated in Bombardier’s ECCB (Engineering Change Control Board), and EMT (Effectivity Management Team) before joining the GAL Aerospace Group in 2011.

His participation in the leadership team has been critical in establishing the following processes at GAL Aviation: a lean manufacturing production flow; logistics control processes; AS9100 and NADCAP accreditations; and the development and implementation of a company-wide ERP system. He has also greatly contributed to the efficient start-up of a production facility now employing more than 50 people south of Quebec City.

Pomerleau is an achiever and energetic young leader who has established his reputation with aircraft manufacturers and tier level suppliers. His no nonsense, straightforward approach has made him an invaluable member of GAL Aviation and the GAL Aerospace Group.

NAME: Chrystal Robertson
TITLE: Head of Parts Sales, Skyline Helicopter Technologies
LOCATION: Lively, Ont.


Since graduating from Northern Lights College’s AMT program in 2008, Chrystal Robertson has been working hard to make an indelible mark on the Canadian helicopter industry – and she’s definitely succeeding.

The 39-year-old Robertson began her career at Bailey Helicopters in Fort St. John as an apprentice before moving to Ontario in 2010 where she joined the maintenance team at Skyline Helicopter Technologies in Lively, Ont.

An expansion in the sales department at the firm created an opportunity for a full-time sales position and the opportunistic Robertson jumped at the chance. A neophyte to the sales world, she quickly turned out to be a natural. With a nice blend of hard work and dedication, Robertson quickly became a driving force, making consistent sales while forming strong business relationships with new and existing customers.

Robertson’s background in maintenance has proven to be a Godsend, as she can bring a detailed understanding of helicopters to the sales arena in a way few sales professionals can, consistently putting the right part in a customer’s hands. And she does all of this while expertly maintaining a home and a young 16-month-old son.

Robertson’s skills have helped keep Skyline going strong during slow operational periods and she has drawn significant praise from customers and operators alike. She also shows considerable leadership skills by volunteering outside of the industry in a number of realms, working on the shop floor and diligently pursuing her AME licence.

Robertson is proving to be an invaluable member of the Skyline team.

NAME: Martin Simard
TITLE: Manager, Technical Training, CAE
LOCATION: Montreal


Providing outstanding technical support is something Martin Simard prides himself in.

Simard, 39, has been working at CAE for 16 years in a variety of functions. His latest responsibility is to manage the technical training group for the CAE Montreal Training Centre, one of CAE’s 50 aviation locations worldwide. In his role, his focus is to enhance the structure and delivery criteria with regards to flight simulator maintenance.

In the eyes of his management team, Simard consistently provides world-class support and technical expertise in all aspects of flight simulation to help his clients be ready to fly safely. He works countless hours and provides substantial expertise in resolving customer issues, performing integration on site and supervising the company’s aviation training centre in Montreal.

Hi excellent communication skills make him the perfect leader to motivate employees and help customers in resolving problems as well as achieving their goals.

Simard’s technical expertise, structured approach and outstanding performance are of paramount importance to CAE. His contribution has been appreciated by customers of CAE Training Centre and other centres worldwide where CAE products are used. Simard and his team help clients operate their simulators efficiently and as a result enhance their operational safety.

NAME: Sean Smith
TITLE: Managing Director, ENSCO Avionics Canada
LOCATION: Dorval, Que.


When ENSCO Avionics, Inc., of Endicott, N.Y., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ENSCO, Inc., hired Sean Smith as a systems analyst in 2006, it was to support a Canadian customer on-site for six months. That time frame certainly changed in a hurry.

Smith’s leadership skills and determination quickly became apparent as he converted this contract into a long-term, multi-person project in his first year. His dedication and entrepreneurial spirit would lead ENSCO Avionics to become a sought-after commodity in the Canadian aerospace industry.

Smith was instrumental in growing his firm’s operations in Canada by putting in long hours and bringing high-value projects into the company. He inspires his staff and those who work with him toward a singular vision by effectively communicating his ideas and sharing his creative approach.

AAs a Systems Analyst, he developed scripts to simplify data review and new control logic for a geared turbofan fuel system. He also took the lead in establishing ENSCO’s Controlled Goods Registration program and dedicated himself to understanding the program and ensuring compliancy. As a result of his resourcefulness and dedication, Smith was promoted to managing director of the Canadian operation in 2011.

Smith, 32 was integral to the establishment of ENSCO Avionics Canada (EAC) in Dorval, Que., in 2012, opening ENSCO’s first international office and subsidiary. His creative leadership introduced new internal processes and systems to streamline complex activities and reduce cost for the customer.

Today, Smith is the managing director of ENSCO’s Canadian subsidiary. In 2010 and 2011, he was awarded and recognized by a customer for his innovation, efforts, dedication, and technical support in resolving highly-visible engine production and field issues.

A member of the CADSI SME Advisory Committee and a strong advocate for Canadian aerospace, Smith is one of the up-and-coming names in Canadian aerospace.


NAMES: Lukas Veldman, Bentley Thistlewaite, Adam Boyko
TITLES: Shop Supervisor, Maintenance Manager, Avionics Manager, EuroTec Canada Ltd.
LOCATION: Millgrove, Ont.


As an international leader in helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul, Millgrove, Ont.’s EuroTec Canada Ltd. relies on its dedicated team to keep its client’s aircraft in the air. Three of the firm’s top employees are all shining examples of the what the Top 20 Under 40 is all about – hard-working, budding leaders who inspire and earn the respect and admiration of not only colleagues but existing customers and potential clients alike.

Lukas Veldman  – Lukas Veldman, 30, EuroTec’s Shop Supervisor, leads a highly skilled group of technicians. As a young apprentice AME, graduating from the Canadore College aviation program in 2005, he apprenticed at Heli Lynx Helicopters and soon moved to Gateway Helicopters to experience the “bush life” and to gain more field experience.

Looking out west for different opportunities, he soon found himself in Peru working for Calgary’s Abitibi Helicopters, enjoying the international travel and work experience he had craved for years. Setting his sights on his M2 licence, he applied to Canadian Helicopters Air Evac program in Toronto and was introduced to the Sikorsky S-76 and soon thereafter the newly acquired AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters at Ornge. With his M1 and M2 licence and currently endorsed on the Airbus Helicopters’ AS350 and the AW139, Veldman continued at Ornge and the air ambulance division.

Veldman then moved to EuroTec Canada and has been a galvanizing force on the shop floor.

Bentley Thistlewaite – Growing up around helicopters and coming from an aviation family, a career in helicopters was something that Bentley Thistlethwaite was destined to pursue.

Born in Australia and living in PNG (Papua New Guinea), Thistlethwaite always hung around his father and the flight crew at Talair and Pacific Helicopters. His father’s love and passion for aviation has set a strong foundation within Thistlethwaite and has propelled him to be one of the finest helicopters AMEs in Canada.

At the age of 33, he is currently the Maintenance Manager at EuroTec Canada. He leads a very talented team of individuals from the QA department to the apprentices on the hangar floor and provides guidance and feedback to help everyone succeed at the task at hand.

Having graduated from Canadore College in 2002, he moved to southern Ontario to continue his passion for the aviation industry. He started at the Brampton flying club as an AME apprentice and worked until the opportunity of moving into the rotary-wing side of things presented itself. Accepting a job at Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services as an apprentice engineer, he started to experience the completion side of the business. Everything from striping and painting the complete aircraft, to structural repairs, component O/H, composite layups to major STC incorporation, and regulatory documentation, he is now a well-rounded engineer that can take on anything that is handed to him.

Adam Boyko – From the simplest wiring harness installation to a full glass cockpit and complex integrated avionics completion, Adam Boyko, EuroTec Canada’s Avionics Manager, has the natural ability to plan and design exactly what the customer requires to deliver the quality they expect in the finished product.

Boyko’s career and technical accomplishment started in 2005 when he graduated from the Avionics Maintenance Engineer course at Canadore College. After finishing at the top of his class with honours, Boyko found himself at Heli-Lynx helicopters working on their FX program as a young apprentice AME.

Growing up in southeastern Ontario, Boyko has always been technically strong and loved working on his snowmobiles and cars. His love for electronics and avionics started at a young age with him working around his mom’s airplanes, and he soon realized that aviation was the right career path for him. In his spare time, he volunteers and helps the local EAA and RAA aviation chapters with Vintage and Experimental aircraft. He provides technical guidance and support with a large number of aircraft owners throughout southern Ontario.

As Avionics Manager, Boyko attends yearly avionics training seminars, and has been instrumental in helping EuroTec Canada set up their Avionics Aircraft Maintenance Organization, as well as several key distributorships which include Technisonics, Avidyne, AEM, Cobham, Garmin, Freeflight, DSS MicroVibe and many others. He is continuously watching the current trends and the newest equipment that is available on the market.

Veldman, Thistlewaite and Boyko all have the technical skills and accomplishments that meet the standards of the “next generation leaders” of the Canadian helicopter industry.

NAME: Tom Woerlen
TITLE: Director of Maintenance, National Helicopters Inc.
LOCATION: Kleinburg, Ont.


Since joining the team at National Helicopters in 2010, 34-year-old Tom Woerlen has become an invaluable asset to not only his company but the Canadian helicopter industry.

Woerlen joined the National Helicopters’ team as Quality Assurance Manager in June 2010, but it didn’t take him long to establish himself as a true leader at the firm. Through good-old-fashioned hard work and determination, he was promoted to Director of Maintenance and now oversees one of the largest helicopter maintenance organizations in the Greater Toronto area. It’s anything but an easy task – he holds maintenance destinations for a varied fleet of some 20 helicopters including key brands such as Robinson, Bell, Airbus, and AgustaWestland aircraft.

Woerlen leads a growing team of highly-skilled AMEs who are mobile between the company’s numerous bases in southern Ontario and across international borders. In a market with constantly changing priorities and tight deadlines, Woerlen and his team always get the job done on time and with high efficiency.

But Woerlen’s skills transcend the maintenance realm. Since joining the company, Woerlen has attracted numerous new clients to the firm, especially in the twin-engine market. He has also been vital in positioning National as an authority in exporting aircraft to one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for privately-owned helicopters: China.

Definitely a force to be reckoned with, Woerlen is one to watch as he makes further strides in his career and in the helicopter industry as a whole.

NAME: Maury Wood
TITLE: Customer Support, Avialta Helicopter Maintenance Ltd.
LOCATION: Sturgeon County, Alta.


It’s safe to say Maury Wood has always been a well-rounded aviation enthusiast.

Born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and a graduate of NAIT with a diploma in Petroleum Technology, Wood, 35, has always had a keen eye on the skies.

Wood began his aviation career as student pilot with Great Slave Helicopters at its flight school at the Villeneuve Airport outside of Edmonton in 2002. Upon graduation, he accepted a flying position based out of Yellowknife, flying various missions “North of 60.” He worked his way through the ranks, gaining valuable experience and flying different types of aircraft and then moved over to Great Slave’s flight training school as a full-time flight instructor during the winter months.

Wood worked in the field during the summer months, anticipating that his valuable experience would be better suited to helping low-time pilots get much-needed experience before they set out on their own newly-found flying careers. He has now accumulated more than 3,300 accident-free flight hours and has earned his Class 2 instructors training rating.

As customer support at Avialta, Wood attacks his role with great pride and enthusiasm. He ensures customers receive the full benefit of the services offered and directs them to many of the new types of STC’s and evolving avionics in the marketplace, especially with private helicopter owners. His training background has proven invaluable, enabling clients to save precious time and expense in many stages of the avionics implementation process.

A keen advocate of the industry, Wood has also served on the board of the Helicopter Association of Canada as an associate member.

Attentive to detail and safety conscious, Wood is certainly one of the up-and-coming young guns in the industry.


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