Investing in our People: A Conversation with Eddie Lane

Investing In Our People: A Conversation with Eddie Lane
In an unpredictable market, Heli-One continues to invest where it matters the most – in employees.

October 5, 2016 – Stavanger, Norway – Heli-One, the world's largest independent provider of helicopter maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, has recently increased their Norway Design Organisation staff by 30% and added 10 Apprentices to the shop. Eddie Lane, GM European Operations, shares with us the importance of investing in and growing the Heli-One team.

Tell us a bit about the Design Team at Heli-One Norway.

The Design Organisation is one of the largest (non-OEM) approved by EASA (Part 21 J) and is led by Tor Baustad. The Organisation celebrated their DOA 10 year anniversary last year, but Heli-One has been doing design work for much longer. It’s a team that has developed a reputation for being very solutions oriented and we have a saying of “if you can wish it, this Design Organisation can make it.” And that’s shown in the type of projects we’ve taken on recently.

You’ve recently expanded the team of Design Engineers – is that surprising to people considering the market conditions?

There’s a lot of interest in what the Design team in Norway has come up with. We’ve gotten to a stage where we’ve expanded our customer base beyond just oil and gas. There’s a lot of old aircraft with the opportunity to be upgraded with newer technology. If you look at the things going on right now – we’ve got projects with law enforcement, the glass cockpit for the S-61 for our Malaysian customers, a SAR cabin configurations for AS332 L1, Military Mission Systems and Structural Repair Schemes – all these are totally different skill sets and disciplines but they’ve been done in association with the customer.

How are you hiring when the mission requirements are so diverse? Are you hiring based on operational trends or do you hire to build a knowledge base?

There is so much demand for their services right now – we have to be ahead of the game and have a few staff at any given time to do R&D work so we can start to develop it. And it’s not just R&D for a product – it could even be for materials that are used in our industry. I think we have an opportunity to become a kind of a think tank. We’ve got the industry knowledge and the ability to think of ideas that customers don’t even know they need.

We have recently hired younger and less experienced people – but with interesting ideas to continue this environment of innovation. We’ve recently added an Aerospace Engineer PhD – a real rocket scientist in our ranks! The addition of new ideas and experience to our existing team with years of experience and deep knowledge of the industry is a mix for success.

Why are you hiring in Design when the industry is facing redundancy challenges?

Design Engineering is one of our major competitive advantages. I believe that developing this area with innovative solutions will be the catalyst for airframe work, which in turn will generate opportunities within our extensive component capabilities.

Tell us a bit about the Apprenticeship program at Stavanger.

A large number of our valuable employees have served Heli-One for their whole working career. In the coming years, we’ve got people leaving for retirement and with, that decades of experience – almost 1000 years actually! Another key catalyst is the great apprenticeship program here in Norway. It’s heavily supported by the government so the cost to the company is minimal and you have the opportunity to decide on permanent hires after the program is complete. We essentially get a 2 year interview process with these apprentices and have the opportunity to mold them into the Heli-One family. We have, and plan on, taking on 10 new apprentices every year. A lot of it has got to do with making sure we keep the skills in-house, because if you’ve got too many people leaving within a short period of time, you’re going to lose a lot of expertise. Today I have four of my trusted leaders on my team that started their career as an apprentice in Heli-One.

What is one key attribute you hire for at Heli-One?

For me, the first and foremost is attitude. I assume that the required competence and education exists, but I would hire someone less educated but with a willingness to be better. You can train and educate people on their technical qualities but you can’t train attitude.

 

About Heli-One

Heli-One is based in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and has MRO operations in Delta, Canada; Stavanger, Norway; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Rzeszow, Poland. Heli-One is the world’s largest independent helicopter MRO and hold certifications and expertise on a broad range of airframes and components from major helicopter and engine manufacturers, including Airbus, Sikorsky, Leonardo (AgustaWestland), Bell, Turbomeca, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric.

Heli-One is a segment of CHC Helicopter, the operating company of CHC Group Ltd. (OTC Pink Sheets: HELIQ)

More about Heli-One: http://heli-one.ca

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