2012 Award Recipients
Nicole Saulnier is co-owner, Chief Pilot and Operations Manager with Georgian Bay Airways (GBA) in Parry Sound, Ontario. 2012 is the tenth season of operations. She received a diploma in advertising from Georgian College and while working up the corporate ladder realized that seeing and hearing the planes flying past her office window was a career she really wanted to have. Float planes became her calling. She has thousands of hours flying the DeHavilland Beaver in northern Ontario, B.C.'s west coast and as Chief Pilot at the float plane base at Parry Sound Harbour, over the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay. When the opportunity arose, she and her husband bought the base. Using her advertising skills, Nicole turned a drab base into an inviting, colourful space and added a gift shop and coffee and ice cream parlour. In 2003 GBA had eight employees and now around twenty.
Nicole acts as a mentor to women in new businesses. She was one of the first in the area to embrace social media. She has been the 1st Vice President for five years with Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce and has been asked to be the president in 2013. She also sits on numerouls community and regional tourism and marketing boards and is currently being pursued by RT102 Explorer's Edge to join their board.
Her career tips for women in aviation are: Don't take no for an answer. Never give up. Set a goal and do what it takes to get there. Don't doubt your abilities. You can have a career and family, it just requires less sleep and more determination to follow your head, not your heart.
Mary Ellen Pauli
In 1986 the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources began to acquire helicopters for their fleet and Mary Ellen, who had extensive experience on their aircraft type, became one of the Ontario government's first helicopter pilots. As a government employee she improved her skills with courses in Deputy Conservation Officer and Aviation Management. Until recently Mary Ellen was the only "permanent staff" female pilot in the 85 year history of the OMNR.
In 1980 Mary Ellen won "Outstanding Service Award" for help in the great Canadian ice story, and in 2008, the P.R.I.D.E. Award for bravery.
Mary Ellen, her husband and two children live in Timmins. All are accomplished musicians. Mary Ellen worked hard to overcome many obstacles in her career path – only woman in secluded bush camps, facing polar bears, and old prejudices towards the capabilities of women in aviation careers. She offers strong encouragement to all women who care to follow in her footsteps and will say "where there's a will, there's a way."
Gina Jordan, as a flight instructor, introduced thousands of pilots to the joy of flight, guided and inspired hundreds of aspiring students to become career pilots during her 17,000 hours of flight.
Gina was born in 1929 in New Brunswick near the present day Saint John Airport. In 1952 she learned how to fly at the Fundy Bay Flying Club and by 1959 had obtained her Instructor rating and started teaching. In 1963 she moved to Calgary as an instructor with Chinook Flying Service and by 1970 opened her own advanced flying school, Jordan Flight Services doing IFR and Commercial training. In 1982 she sold her flying service and after training in Redwoods, California, became the second woman to fly for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) as a missionary pilot until retirement in 1994. She flew over hundreds of miles of rain forest without navigational aids, no roads, and into remote jungle villages where grass airstrips had been hacked out of the forest. Aside from flying in the Cessna 404 and Beech 99, she also trained pilots in Tanzania on the Cessna 402 and on the Partnavia in Madagascar. She was a director of MAF from 1996 until 2001.
Between her sortees to Africa, Gina also flew as a corporate pilot in a Piper Navajo in Calgary, Alberta, flying oil rig workers thoughout northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. She flew in four Powder Puff Derbies between 1967 and 1970 and was a member of The Ninety-Nines, Inc.
After retirement Gina was involved with CASARA at the Saint John Airport back in New Brunswick.
After completing her degree in Aerospace Engineering, Erika was hired by Bombardier. As a member of the Graduate Development Program she worked in a variety of groups including, Liaison, Airworthiness, Flight Test and Mechanical Systems. She began working in the Flight Test Engineering Group for the Bombardier Q400 program as a Flight Test engineer. Erika was the Flight Test engineer on board the first biofuel flight in Canada.
Erika is involved in many voluntary programs and tours at Bombardier. The Children's activity encourages youth to learn and pursue aviation and engineering related interests. Tours include students from the Seneca College aviation management program, Ryerson University, University of Toronto engineering department, and women in aviation groups.
She is currently working towards her Canadian Private Pilot certificate.
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