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Scant months after its official launch at the Canadian Business Aircraft Association (CBAA) convention in June, BizAv Young Talent Initiative’s core team of six people based in Edmonton and Calgary has more than doubled in size. Three new team members in Ontario, and five in Quebec, helped carry out Biz AV YTI’s first networking events in Toronto on Nov. 20 and Montreal on Nov. 21. BizAv YTI has grown very quickly, expanding to Eastern Canada six months ahead of schedule, and it is now on track to expand nation-wide ahead of its initial 2020 goal.
“This was due to the overwhelming support of the industry and so many people who wanted to get involved,” said founder Kate Latis.
BizAv YTI’s goal is to inform new aviation professionals about this unique aviation sector. It is often perceived as shrouded in secrecy, well exemplified in the term ‘private jets.’ To most people planning an aviation career, military or commercial aviation are the common avenues and goals. Business aviation is often not even considered as a career path, let alone a career goal.
The BizAv group also helps to address and inform about some of the differences between business and commercial aviation. Corporate aviation operations often fly to exotic destinations, a far cry from what a junior airline pilot or crew member may experience early in their career. Flexible scheduling is one attraction to many pilots, often allowing larger blocks of time off. Many business aviation employees also love the variety of the industry.
“There is always something new and I am always learning,” said Danny Diaz, one of the Toronto team members who works in business development for Aversan Aerospace in Toronto.
BizAv YTI’s networking events bring together aspiring and current young aviation professionals to expose them to corporate aviation personnel, operations, facilities, and of course, aircraft. These events are ideal opportunities for people trying to establish careers in business aviation to network with employees from a variety of different fields including pilots, flight attendants, AMEs, line crew, dispatchers, engineers, administrators, and sales and marketing people. The chance to see the aircraft up close can be inspirational in itself. Corporate jets are like the sports cars of the sky; exotic, sleek and impeccably maintained. A rare opportunity to get up close and personal with a jet could change an entire career path.
BizAv YTI not only hosts specific networking events, but it also represents the industry at trade shows, career expos, and conventions such as CBAA and NBAA. Post-secondary aviation programs and flying club presentations are another great way through which the BizAv team is spreading the word about this side of the industry to aviation career-seekers. Organizing tours of FBOs for interested students and young professionals is also an important part of the campaign.
Spreading the word
One of Biz Av YTI’s main ways to spread the word is through social media, which commenced in early 2018, with the initiative now being very active on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@BizAvYTI). As a matter of fact, one of the attendees at the Toronto networking event who is not in the industry found out about the event on Twitter and decided to attend. Biz Av YTI’s Facebook page features inspiring interviews with young business aviation professionals from an array of careers. It also re-posts relevant articles from informed sources such as Skies Magazine, CBAA, and NBAA.
Biz AV YTI is the brainchild of Kate Latis, Gray Norman, and Donald Wheaton. Business aviation’s relatively low profile, along with a shortage of pilots, AMEs and other professionals, prompted Latis and her two colleagues to start spreading the word, and they were soon joined by three other Calgary/Edmonton-based team members.
BizAv YTI is backed by the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) and was officially launched on June 14, 2018, at the CBAA Convention. As it has spread across the country the Biz AV YTI team has snowballed in size. Volunteers are all doing it as a labour of love, evidence of their commitment to corporate aviation. They all have full-time jobs in the industry and are well connected and willing to share their knowledge.
Sponsorship and support
Support for BizAv YTI comes from numerous organizations and companies. The team’s employers generously support the group by allowing them time to plan and carry out the meetings, and sometimes support travel and expenses incurred. Latis gratefully thanks her employer and program supporter, Aurora Jet Partners of Edmonton. Corporate sponsorship is quickly growing, and includes founding sponsors AirSprint, Bombardier, and Student Aviation Financing. In the case of the first Ontario networking event, Chartright Air Group, a huge supporter of the initiative, hosted the meeting in its hangar and shared sponsorship with NeoJets. In Montreal, the event was co-hosted by Starlink Aviation and H-18 FBO.
Breaking down barriers
BizAv YTI’s meteoric rise in a just a few short months is a testament to the enthusiasm of the team and the support of the business aviation industry. James Elian, president of Air Sprint, appreciates how the group is breaking down barriers to an aviation community that is commonly considered closed. Air Sprint is a relatively young company, with the average age of its 125 staff being about 32 years old.
Elian was inspired by Latis’ initial presentation to the CBAA board, and it compelled Air Sprint to become one of the founding sponsors of the program. According to Elian: “When I started in aviation almost 20 years ago, business aviation just wasn’t in reach. It was a very close-knit community and seemed inaccessible. That has changed over the last few years, due to newer companies and new technologies. At Air Sprint, we have embraced people that didn’t have business aviation backgrounds, and I’m a firm believer in giving young people a chance and opening up the community to them. That’s why I am supporting BizAv YTI – it is a great tool for new people entering the industry.”
BizAv Young Talent Initiative’s spread across the nation is sure to breed a new generation of top notch aviation professionals, some of whom will eventually rise to run the key positions in Canada’s business aviation world. As the initiative grows, it will continue to fulfil its mission of connecting business aviation to the future.
For more information on the BizAv YTI initiative, see this article.