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Editorial: They’ve Got It Going!

It’s one thing to take responsibility for your own career path and the role you play in an organization, but it takes a special person to lead others and change the corporate culture for the better – so much so in fact that it adds tremendous value in a variety of areas.


It’s one thing to take responsibility for your own career path and the role you play in an organization, but it takes a special person to lead others and change the corporate culture for the better – so much so in fact that it adds tremendous value in a variety of areas.

But that’s precisely what 31-year-old Peter Rice has managed to do at Summit Helicopters in Yellowknife. Formerly Trinity Helicopters, Summit is now operated by the Ledcor Group of Companies, which purchased Trinity this past spring. With one of the most diverse fleets in the far north, keeping the birds flying in the various operations it is involved in is no small task, but it’s one Rice, the base’s production/quality assurance manager, fully embraces.

Rice’s ability to provide the appropriate level of guidance and technical direction on all projects is truly special, and he’s a real inspiration to his peers, says Rob Carroll, vice-president of business development for Summit Helicopters. Rice is professional, resourceful and understands the context of his position, his organization and everything it entails – and he does it all with great humility and respect for his peers. It’s highly apparent to his colleagues that professionalism is a key personal attribute, and personal and professional achievement is high on his priority list.

Yes, Rice is indeed a man with a plan, and with a pedigree that includes a high respect for developing a safer work environment and a commitment to giving back to the industry he is passionate about, he shows precisely the kind of leadership and commitment to aviation excellence that made him a deserving recipient of one of Wings and Helicopters magazines’ inaugural Top 10 Under 40 awards (see, “Finding Next-Gen Achievers,” pg. 12). And the good news? He’s just one of 10 (actually 11) who received an award in 2013 for precisely this type of personal drive.

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The Top 10 Under 40 awards were developed this spring in a
collaborative effort by the editorial and marketing departments at Wings and Helicopters to uncover and honour the achievements of the next generation of aviation superstars. In an industry clamouring to fill a growing void of retiring pilots, maintenance workers, business administration professionals and more, our goal was to identify young professionals making a difference in a variety of realms, within their organizations and the industry. It was our goal to feature new leaders ready to carry the torch.

The response to the initiative was strong, with plenty of nominations in both the rotary- and fixed-wing realms. The unique thing about this contest is that it’s not all about pilots: it’s about professionals flying high in a variety of disciplines from maintenance and engineering to business operations.

It was also refreshing to see a number of nominations from women excelling in various aviation disciplines. The aviation world is a male-dominated industry, but there are countless women making inroads in it. Young achievers such as Trisha Lakatos, business development director at ACASS in Montreal, and Jen Norie, general manager of VIH Helicopters in Victoria, B.C., perfectly illustrate this point. Both have reached high levels of achievement within their organizations and within the industry itself, a testament to their internal drive and commitment for the greater good.

It’s also about something more, a motivation all winners show – a true passion for aviation that drives them to reach new heights, and challenge themselves to reach higher still.

On many occasions in the past few years, the question of how prepared the aviation industry is for the future has been addressed in the many interviews I have had with top industry executives. Key corporate leaders often pause, and say “finding top talent” is their organization’s greatest challenge – those with the right mix of savvy and smarts, confidence and know-how to redefine corporate realities and lead future generations of employees. As our award winners illustrate, there are reasons for considerable optimism: the aviation landscape is obviously rich with these kinds of individuals.

Wings and Helicopters congratulates all of the Top 10 Under 40 winners. May you continue to strive to reach new heights and foster change in the months and years ahead. It’s precisely what this industry needs.


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