This nomination has four themes: consistent excellence, innovation, mentorship and public outreach.
Following graduation in 1976 from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Bill started his first aircraft maintenance business in Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada. Five years later he moved to Campbell River, B.C. where he formed and to this day operates, Sealand Aviation Ltd., a principal resource for commercial float planes operating in coastal logging and fishing industries. With a variety of partners, Bill has founded several Campbell River aerospace companies including Vancouver Island Air and E&B Helicopters. More recently, Bill formed Sealand Aerospace to manufacture the rudder, elevator and ailerons for the Series 400 Twin Otter produced by Viking Air of Victoria, B.C.
It is difficult to convey the culture of Sealand without experiencing it. Bill has an office but prefers to act as a resource on the floor to over forty licensed maintainers and craftsmen. He empowers people, and when they experience a setback, he coaches. Almost forty years of excellent service in a difficult industry speaks volumes. And when he feels he might be "getting stale," he and Nancy launch a road trip, trusting his staff to grow in his absence. One such odyssey took them to the tip of South America, in a camper truck. As a field mechanic and pilot, Bill has rescued aircraft from Russia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Australia, Fiji, Nicaragua, and Columbia.
Not content with maintenance, Bill innovates. Sealand Aviation holds over fifty Transport Canada and US FAA approvals for modifications to aircraft. Today, over forty percent of de Havilland Beavers in use worldwide have modifications designed and manufactured by Sealand.
Rest? Overrated. A mentor by temperament, especially to recently minted mechanics, Bill organized Teen Flight Campbell River in 2014. This aviation-based STEM program meets Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons to assemble a kit plane for flight and sale. The proceeds help students achieve their educational goals and buy the next kit. Participating students form solid work habits and grow their confidence in a shop environment.
Finally, Bill shares the special place he has created with members of the public. An "open environment," Sealand is never more open than during a summer festival called "Wings and Wheels" showcasing unique aircraft and cars. Thousands attend each year. Proceeds go to worthy community causes.
2019 Cougar Helicopters Inc
2018 Coulson Aviation
2017 Kenn Borek Air Ltd
2016 Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service
2015 Civil Air Search and Resue Association (CASARA)
2014 No Award
2013 Bombardier Aerospace
2012 Boeing Company Training Systems and Government Services
2011 Conair Aviation Ltd