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“Experience has no substitute.”
This is Alpine Aerotech’s new vision statement. It appears on branding boards displayed throughout the company’s workplace.
“After 29 years, our team felt it was time for a new look,” says president Jeff Denomme. “I really like to involve the employees in collective decision-making, so it all came about from an internal survey. These boards are a reminder for our employees to know who we are and what we value. We want to make sure we instill that in everything we do every day. We are really still the same, but with a new look.”
Clearly, the results of the survey focused on the company’s experience. “Our experience is something that I think is second to none,” says Denomme. “We have employees and managers who have been here since day one, and we pretty much have zero turnover. It’s a real strength.”
Day one started in 1990 in Kelowna, British Columbia, when Alpine was primarily a structures shop. Over the years, the company expanded steadily into an all-around, one-stop shop, with full capabilities of paint, structures, component overhaul, avionics and manufacturing for helicopters. It also grew into a Platinum-rated, Bell Helicopter Textron approved Customer Service Facility–and a leading-edge provider of comprehensive, worldwide helicopter support and aircraft maintenance services from locations in Kelowna and Abbotsford, B.C.
Today, Alpine Aerotech provides full-service maintenance and repair for all leading OEM helicopter types. Its capabilities include avionics, component overhaul, composite repair, maintenance engineering, quality assurance, structural repair and tooling. Add to that, product and parts sales, and manufacturing and product development, and you have a true one-stop shop that meets the needs of every helicopter operator.
The company focuses on all aspects of best-in-class customer service. Its credentials and global approvals assist in providing solutions for a large variety of helicopter types for customers around the world.
“It’s all about steady and astute organic growth,” says Denomme. “Over the past few years, we have focused on diversity and eliminating some of the seasonality in our business. International approvals and capabilities with all the leading OEM types have allowed us to expand our business and provide support and cost-saving solutions globally.
“The seasonality is tough in our business. Realistically, we were trying to drive 12 months of support into eight months. That is the downtime for all the Canadian and U.S. operators because they need their aircraft from May to September.”
New capabilities have helped eliminate most of the seasonality, which helps alleviate some of the ups and downs for the employees and provides a stable work environment. What has also helped is Alpine has grown its lease fleet and its hull and component exchange programs.
Its team strives to provide solutions, big or small, for every owner and operator. “When we understand their challenges, it enhances our relationship.”
The new capabilities and diversity create a vital synergy between new business and new opportunities for employees. “Employees have opportunities from the diversity that we’ve put forth, so it’s not always just from somebody retiring–there are a lot of new capabilities and a lot of new opportunities we are trying to drive.”
Another recent development is a renewed emphasis on the use of tracked data to provide transparency and accurate and competitive quoting. “We try and provide a transparent quote, so customers understand the number of hours that go into these projects because we have the data from doing this for 30 years,” explains Denomme. “We’re giving the customer realistic expectations instead of quotes that get them in the door and then have them be disappointed when they get the invoice.” Alpine has now fully integrated that transparency into its accounting and quoting system, thus providing better communication and updates through its planning department.
That openness and accountability boosts confidence on all sides. “It’s about our employees and our customers,” says Denomme. “We have so many return customers, and I think that’s all because our customers can pick up the phone and talk to any one of us and get the personable and reliable support they expect.
“Realistically, we just want to make sure we are personable, experienced and reliable–and that we don’t grow outside our comfort zone. We are not growing by leaps and bounds, but we are growing to what our capability is so we can continue to provide a quality product. That’s really our goal–to keep doing what we’re doing. And that takes experience and communicating with our customers.”