Helicopters Magazine

van Berkel named President and CEO of COPA

May 4, 2023  By Helicopters Staff

Mark van Berkel has been an active COPA member for more than 20 years. (Photo: COPA)

Mark van Berkel on May 15 is set to join the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association as its next President and CEO, succeeding Jim Ferrier who was serving in the position on an interim basis.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) explains van Berkel brings with him a wealth of aviation, business and management experience that will be instrumental as he leads Canada’s largest aviation association in its mission to “To promote, advance and inspire general aviation, and to preserve the Canadian freedom to fly.”

Originally from Calgary, van Berkel now lives in Ottawa where COPA is headquartered. He has been an active COPA member for 20 years and earned his PPL shortly after college. van Berkel remains an active pilot with a current IFR rating and has owned and operated five aircraft in those 20 years of COPA membership.

van Berkel began his aviation career as an avionics AME in Vancouver, moved to Ottawa where he worked for Transport Canada Aircraft Services and became its Chief Avionics Specialist. Thereafter, he transitioned into the private sector, ultimately founding and building an avionics manufacturing business, TrueNorth Avionics, which specialized in designing and manufacturing communications and data connectivity for business jets. After growing the business to more than 50 employees in 10 years, van Berkel sold TrueNorth to Satcom Direct.


During his professional career, COPA explains van Berkel has had significant experience advocating before, and positively interfacing with, government stakeholders including Transport Canada and NAV Canada. COPA continues to describe COPA explains as an incisive and thoughtful person with a proven track record of capably leading a team and an organization to success. He is passionate about general aviation, explains COPA, and is enthusiastic about applying his experience and skills to advancing COPA’s Mission and Vision.

The Board recently concluded an extensive and successful strategic planning process. Equipped with clear Strategic Priorities and Objectives, Mark is strongly positioned to flesh out the Strategic Plan with defined tactics and deliverables, and to lead his team and our members as we all, together, advance COPA’s Mission and Vision.

COPA’s Board of Directors, in announcing van Berkel’s appointment, also expressed its gratitude to Ferrier who assumed responsibility for leading COPA on a temporary basis and provided the group with the benefit of time to recruit a strong candidate for the position on a permanent basis. Ferrier is returning to his former role in Aviation Operations.


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