Helicopters Magazine

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Editorial: Cultivating Cultures

April 28, 2014  By Matt Nicholls

Finding reliable, forward-thinking employees and working to create strong, safety conscious corporate cultures where people feel empowered to innovate, contribute and grow is what all companies strive to achieve.

Finding reliable, forward-thinking employees and working to create strong, safety conscious corporate cultures where people feel empowered to innovate, contribute and grow is what all companies strive to achieve.

This was one of the salient themes conveyed at the 10th annual CHC Safety & Quality Summit March 31-April 2 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel and Conference Centre in Vancouver, B.C., as some of the aviation industry’s most prominent leaders shared a foundation of safety excellence to the more than 800 delegates from around the globe.

Striving to make safety goals a reality starts with effective leadership at the top, and creating a sound corporate culture also works to keep employees empowered, motivated and primed to succeed. As CHC president and CEO Bill Amelio stressed in his opening remarks on the first day of the conference, without such a framework in place, organizations make themselves highly vulnerable, exposing them to risk and stagnation. (For more on the CHC Safety & Quality conference, see “On the Fly,” pg. 8 and “Practise Does Make Perfect,” pg. 9.)

Creating strong corporate cultures and finding dynamic employees to fuel the technological demands of tomorrow remains one of the greatest challenges facing Canadian aviation and aerospace organizations today. Countless global surveys indicate that a rapidly retiring workforce in North America and abroad coupled with an increased demand for skilled pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, software engineers and more, has created a looming employment crisis – one that demands the immediate attention from various levels of government, industry and academia.


Marry this with the increased demands for fleet enhancements and expansion in many markets around the globe, and an enhanced commitment for all organizations nationwide to establish a forward thinking, sound corporate structure is paramount. Finding and nurturing Gen Next to fill this impending shortfall is a responsibility shared by all – industry, government and academia.

Fortunately, there are countless examples to illustrate just how industry is working in concert with academia and government to develop and nurture aviation and aerospace students nationwide. These initiatives do an excellent job of helping to prepare young aviators for the future demands in rotary- and fixed-wing operations and the Canadian aerospace industry as a whole.

At Wings  and Helicopters magazines, we are striving to do our part. Our recent aerospace series in both magazines, for example, highlighted many of these initiatives, and we will continue to feature future collaborative efforts. One such initiative is the establishment of the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC). A joint initiative of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and CRIAQ, CARIC is a national research and technology network that unites stakeholders from industry, universities, colleges and research institutions. The project brings together the best of the entire Canadian industry to identify strategic aerospace technology areas and facilitate collaborative research and development.

When CARIC is up and running, the value of the network’s collaborative research projects could reach more than $20 million per year. Research projects selected will enable the industry to ensure its competitiveness and help overcome “silo” effects, promoting the joint use of research infrastructures, while strengthening research efforts and technological development. Look for much more on this key initiative in future issues of Wings and Helicopters magazines.

In helping to unite the industry and do our part to influence change, we have also developed other initiatives to nurture the development of future aviation and aerospace leaders. For example, our Careers in Aviation events this year in Toronto and Calgary did a tremendous job of uniting high school and college students with industry leaders, flight schools, educational institutions and more, to provide students with a better understanding of opportunities available to them. And our Top 10 Under 40 features that will run in both magazines (July/August issue of Wings and July/August/September issue of Helicopters) will showcase future leaders at work at their organizations right now. All are under the age of 40 and are striving to create safer, stronger corporate cultures throughout the industry.

Amelio’s message at CHC of developing strong corporate cultures to avoid stagnation and risk is an excellent one, and there is plenty of good news on the Gen Next front to illustrate that a new generation of aerospace leaders is poised and waiting to make their mark in shaping the strong corporate cultures of tomorrow. The results can only mean safer, more dynamic Canadian skies.


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