In the days leading up to HAI HELI‑EXPO 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia, HAI members selected their board of directors for fiscal year 2023–24. HAI members reelected current board members Nicole Battjes, Randy Rowles, and Mark Schlaefli and also elected Paul Gottwig, who will fill a government service seat. Gottwig replaces B. Adam Hammond, who chose not to return to the board. Gottwig’s three-year term will begin Jul. 1, 2023.

“I am pleased to welcome Paul to our board,” says Jeff Smith, current HAI Board chair. “And I speak for the board and our industry in extending my deepest appreciation to Adam for his service. Adam served to support our members and the vertical aviation industry, and I believe Paul will very capably serve as the representative for government service on this board.”

While HAI member operators select the board members, the board itself selects its panel of officers each year. Beginning on Jul. 1, 2023, the following board members will serve a one-year term as officers:

  • Chair Nicole Battjes, Rainbow Helicopters
  • Vice Chair Mark A. Schlaefli, Dakota Rotors
  • Treasurer Rick Kenin, Boston MedFlight
  • Assistant Treasurer Brian Jorgenson, Timberline Helicopters.

“I appreciate the effort our members have put into the election of their board of directors,” says James Viola, HAI president and CEO. “This board has extensive experience across a wide section of our industry. The people on our board are proactive in addressing significant issues in our industry, such as creating working groups focused on workforce development and aviation insurance. Their goal is to improve our industry, and I am grateful for their assistance.”

Gottwig explains why he wants to serve as an HAI board member. “My initial intention is twofold,” he says. “One is to help out the membership of HAI in any way possible but, more specifically, to aid HAI’s efforts in meeting the government service industry’s needs in terms of pilot, crew member, and mechanic hiring.

“Second is to work with the other members of the board on creating working groups and committees to interface between federal, state, and local governments and the FAA; [helping] individual helicopter operators achieve better contracting opportunities; and clearly defining safety and performance guidelines for aircraft and aircrew requirements to aid our industry’s safety initiatives,” adds Gottwig.

Gottwig is also looking forward to future generations of technology and aircraft. “I’m excited to be able to help guide the organization as a whole in embracing and involving new technologies that fit the vertical lift definition into our membership, such as drone operations and tiltrotor operations. These are new and rapidly evolving vertical lift groups that, if properly integrated, [could] positively change the way helicopters operate inside the vertical lift industry.”

The results of the election were tabulated and certified at HAI’s annual membership meeting on Mar. 6 based on ballots HAI members had submitted electronically leading up to the event.

All HAI member operators are eligible to run for future HAI Board vacancies. For more information, contact James Viola at [email protected].


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