October 3, 2007 By Ken Pole
Six years ago, Innotech Aviation went through a downsizing that
would have obliterated many companies. At the time, it was a
Dorval-based interior completion shop with about 450 employees, mostly
working on aircraft manufactured by neighbouring Bombardier, which
wanted to get into completion. "It was an offer we just couldn't
refuse," explained Kirk Rowe, executive vice-president and chief
operating officer of Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group. "If you're going
to have the manufacturer right beside you, building a facility and
trying to staff it, we thought it in the best interests of ourselves
and our employees – and Bombardier."
The divestiture to Bombardier left Innotech with about 15 mechanics.
But, given its roots as part of Halifax-based IMP Group International,
a privately-held firm with diverse interests, Innotech wanted to remain
in the business. "So we decided to keep our maintenance plan in play
and keep the name, Innotech Aviation, because it had a lot of goodwill,
having been in business for 35-40 years." But then Innotech also sold
its hangar and was forced to "scramble for a year or two," as Rowe put
it during a wide-ranging interview. "We ended up building next door to
the Execaire site and from that point on we grew quite rapidly."
Today, about 230 non-union employees provide an array of services to
corporations and individuals with the wherewithal to own aircraft,
mostly Bombardier models ranging from Global Express (GSX) down to
600s. The GE has been a real growth opportunity for Innotech over the
last two years and Rowe – an accountant who has always worked in
aviation – expects it will remain so. The growth is testament to the
market's appreciation that Innotech can provide pretty well every GSX
service imaginable. However, the company also manages several Hawkers
and about the same number of Cessna Citations, mainly in Vancouver.
"We've always had a diversified company that not only allows different
expertises to spin off opportunities but also knows which ones we can
grow most effectively," said Rowe, who reports to Stephen Plummer,
president and CEO of IMP Group International, who used to have Rowe's