In 1994, Terry Eissfeldt and Peter Barratt started Westcoast Helicopters with two helicopters in a small hangar.
“We saw a need and we were confident we had a vision of how to fill it,” says Terry. Westcoast Helicopters has now grown to include four hangars, 12 helicopters and 44 employees across coastal B.C. in Nanaimo, Bella Coola, Port McNeill and Campbell River.
“Our families are involved in these communities, so we need to have a positive effect on where we work,” says Terry. “It’s a very symbiotic relationship. Not only are we providing jobs for the community, but our employees can be proud of where they work.”
Bird's-eye view of BC is breathtaking
Working from a mandate of ‘Safety, Service and Reliability’, Westcoast Helicopters has built a reputation for safety throughout the industry that easily instils pride in its staff.
One of the perks of being a helicopter pilot in British Columbia’s coastal region is getting a bird’s eye view of the stunning rainforest and mountain regions of the province.
“Because of the nature of our work, we get to see 95 per cent of British Columbia that many people don’t and a lot of those places can literally take your breath away,” says Terry. “When you see the areas of the province that we get to see, you want to protect it with the best practices possible.”
Now, Westcoast Helicopters is using their success to turn blue skies green.
They use precautions such as doublelined fuel caches, complete with spill kits, to ensure they mitigate fuel entering the pristine environments in which they fly.
When they needed secure power and energy sources for their new Port McNeill hangar, Terry opted for a wind turbine and rain catch roof to help reduce their carbon footprint.
“As an engineer, my job is to figure things out,” says Terry. That persistence has paid off.
Last year, they received the first TECH Green award for their commitment to environmental leadership and involvement with sustainable best practices and energy conservation.
Most recently, Westcoast Helicopters was a Top 10 Finalist for Small Business BC’s 2011 Successful You BC Green Business Award, an award that not only recognizes their strong vision and support for environmental policies, but also their actions.
For more information, visit www.westcoasthelicopters.com
This small business profile first appeared in Small Business Profile 2011: A profile of small business in British Columbia. Aussi disponible en français.Other profiles in the series:
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