Fifth Annual Waypoint Aviation Connections Event a Success!

Feb 10, 2020

Photo: Courtesy Jimmy Jiang

On January 23rd, 2020, the British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC) hosted the fifth annual Waypoint Aviation Connections networking event at the BC Institute of Technology’s downtown Vancouver campus. The event was attended by over 130 students, recent graduates, and industry professionals representing dozens of the province’s finest aviation and aerospace organizations.

Waypoint Aviation Connections began as networking event organized by the students of Vancouver’s universities to open doors for those interested in pursuing a career in the aviation industry. First held in September 2015, the events features engaging presentations from industry professionals on the most relevant issues affecting the state of the industry. In addition, Waypoint events place an emphasis on generous networking opportunities to allow students and recent graduates to meet and connect with industry representatives. In 2019, many of the original organizers joined forces with the BCAC’s Youth Engagement Committee to continue hosting Waypoint events for years to come. They were assisted by many generous volunteers from the aviation clubs at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

The theme of this year’s event was sustainability, with an emphasis on each of its environmental, social and economic components. As issues like climate change and the industry’s labour shortage continue to attract headlines, the organizing committee felt that these critical topics were ripe for further discussion. As such, the event featured keynote speakers from several organizations facing these challenges head-on:

  • Cathy Press, CEO of Chinook Helicopters, spoke about her efforts to deal with the shortage of aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) in the industry. Cathy also emphasized the need for more women to train as AMEs, and pilots, in order to close the gap between demand and supply.
  • Mary Point, Director of Environment at the Vancouver Airport Authority, shared many of the airport’s recent initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Mary also touched on a range of measures that other organizations in the industry will be able to apply to improve their own sustainability.
  • Gerry Egan, Vice-President at Harbour Air, discussed the details of building the world’s first commercial electric aircraft – the ePlane! Gerry also shared that Harbour Air expects to certify the aircraft and place it in revenue service within the next few years.

Photo: Courtesy Jimmy Jiang

Following their individual presentations, the keynote speakers reconvened for a panel discussion moderated by Cheryl Cahill, Chief Instructor at BCIT’s Aerospace Campus. The session featured a number of pointed questions from Cheryl asking for the panel’s opinions on how our industry must change in order to ensure its long-term sustainability. The evening was capped off with a raffle, for which the prizes were generously donated by the Pacific Flying Club, the Vancouver Airport Authority, as well as several other event attendees.

Photo: Courtesy Jimmy Jiang

This year’s event would not have been possible without the kind generosity of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), as well as all of the hard work of the BCAC’s Youth Engagement committee.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for all of those who were involved, and we look forward to welcoming you again at next year’s Waypoint Aviation Connections event!

(Written by: David Cocojar, BCAC Youth Engagement Committee)