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The Passion Principle

In a previous role as editor of a prominent Canadian meeting and incentive travel magazine, I was blessed with the rare opportunity to listen to remarkable business leaders share their perspectives on how to develop successful, profitable enterprises.


In a previous role as editor of a prominent Canadian meeting and incentive travel magazine, I was blessed with the rare opportunity to listen to remarkable business leaders share their perspectives on how to develop successful, profitable enterprises.

In comparing their tales of good fortune, key pillars of success consistently stood out. Finding a niche in a competitive market? Check. Differentiating yourself from the competition? Check. Striving to be innovative? Absolutely. Constantly improving your product? Done. Securing the right people to drive your products? It’s all about the right team. Great points all, and tangible ways to keep businesses strong and ideas germinating to new levels.

What resonated with me most about these great leaders, however, was the undercurrent that tied everything together – what I call the “passion principle.”

This intangible element is the fuel that thrusts creative engines into overdrive – it’s what enables us to achieve more than we ever thought possible, reach levels we couldn’t even fathom. It makes good things great, great things prodigious. It fulfils . . . it completes. It even heals and reforms.

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Passion is also the fuel that enables leaders and change agents to transform operations in challenging times – helping them formulate and implement new ideas to ensure future prosperity and protect against loss.

The March/April issue of Helicopters highlights two such leaders whose passion and vision have helped transform their organizations – and more importantly – educate and provide value to customers and clients.

The first is Peter Murray, president of Talon Helicopters in Vancouver (see “Living Large!” pg. 18). His operation is the quintessential Canadian success story – a small business born on a dream and a prayer, slowly growing into a vibrant, thriving company through elbow grease, creativity and sound decision-making.

Founded April 22, 1997, Talon has grown from a small staff with a smattering of key clients to a highly efficient group of 10 with loyal clients in such industries as film, fire fighting, telecommunications, SAR and television.

Murray is a hands-on leader involved in all aspects of the operation from marketing to training to flying. He built the company from the ground up and established everything about the Talon concept right down to the smallest detail. And while he can be demanding and forthright at times, jokes chief pilot Kelsey Wheeler, “there aren’t a lot of quiet moments when Peter is around. He leads by example . . . . He creates the kind of environment where employees want to go to work every day. It’s what good leaders do.”

Murray’s passion for ensuring a safe, secure operation for clients resonates with all members of his team – and is the ideology behind what the veteran pilot calls “the Talon way.”

“I do a lot of renovating away from work,” says Murray, “and I can tell you this. Whether it’s drywalling, painting, plumbing, electrical or digging a ditch – you do it the best you can do it. There is no other way.”

Greg Wyght, vice-president safety and quality for CHC Helicopters, is the visionary behind the CHC Quality and Safety Summit (see “Priming the Pump,” pg. 23). Wyght’s passion in taking aviation flight safety, accident prevention, quality assurance as well as occupational health and safety and tying it all into one Safety Management System, led to the development of this popular event.

Since the first summit in 2005 when 35 employees met in the Czech Republic, the event has grown to more than 600 attendees, attracting an impressive bevy of speakers on both the fixed and rotary side of the equation. This year’s summit is set for March 28-30 in Vancouver and is expected to attract record attendance.

Wyght is well aware of the event’s impact, and is proud his passion and commitment have helped facilitate change. “[Due to this event] we will get safer pilots, safer engineers, better safety culture within the helicopter industry, lower interest rates because everyone’s accident rate drops, so there’s a number of intangible benefits we get from that,” he says.

At Helicopters magazine, we salute change makers like Peter Murray and Greg Wyght and look forward to highlighting other industry leaders committed to the “passion principle” in the months and years ahead.

If you have a visionary leader in your organization whose story needs to be heard, please contact me at mnicholls@annexweb.com.


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