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News Listings » Article: 40 Years of The Right Stuff – From Canada to Kazakhstan

40 Years of The Right Stuff – From Canada to Kazakhstan

June 18, 2015

Pulling up to the Progressive Air Group of Companies headquarters in sunny Kamloops, B.C., it’s quickly apparent this company is growing. The 15,000 square foot facility, located beside the Kamloops Airport, barely has enough parking in its lot to accompany the 30+ vehicles of the staff. The Progressive Air Group of Companies encompasses three distinct companies: Pro Aero Aviation which overhauls and repairs certified piston engines and accessories, Aero Sport Power which specializes in assembling, overhauling, and repairing high performance experimental aircraft engines, and Progressive Air Services which provides new OEM engines and parts to clients worldwide.

“The company has been in existence since 1975,” says Todd Collins, CEO/CFO for Progressive Air Group of Companies. “Brian Barron and Alvin Hickey purchased Kamloops Aircraft Services from Brian’s family in 1974. In 1975 they incorporated Progressive Air Services to provide quality new engines, parts and engine overhauls, setting the foundation for the company. In the past year we’ve experienced incredible growth here in Kamloops working with clients from all over the world from Australia and Kazakhstan to France and Dubai, and the future looks outstanding.”

Todd joined the company over a year ago coming from the financial sector and is in partnership with company President Rob Wharf. Rob worked at Progressive for years and is a helicopter mechanic by trade. When the opportunity became available for them to purchase The Progressive Air Group, it was a decision they were excited to make.

“Our company has always been one of maintaining the highest customer service standards and providing the best quality parts, service, and expertise,” says Rob. “We’re a very close group here and the opportunity to own a piece of an industry I’m passionate about is incredible. Not only do I enjoy working and living in Kamloops, but I enjoy working with our clients and our remarkable staff. We’ve got a dynamic team and it’s only getting better.”

In the last year the team has grown from 24 people to 36, and sales continue to rise year over year. It’s given the company the opportunity to branch out a bit too.

“Our Aero Sport Power team partnered with the team from Superior Air Parts out of Coppell, Texas to create the new 200 plus horsepower 382-Wildcat engine,” says Rob. “Superior Air Parts is a provider for the experimental side and we’re the exclusive global assembler and distributor of the engine for the experimental aircraft and helicopter markets.” Delivering over 200-horsepower on the dyno, the engine fills a much needed gap in the segment of the homebuilt engine market.

The team at Aero Sport Power has also had the opportunity to do sponsorships. Most notably has been the sponsorship of Super Dave Mathieson, a full time professional air show pilot and star of the Discovery Channel’s “Airshow” program. The team installed a high performance, high end engine in his MX2 aircraft, and Dave himself is thrilled.

“It’s a huge rush to work with the team at Aero Sport Power,” said Super Dave. “As the only full time air show pilot in Canada, I need my aircraft in pristine condition and the engine specialists at Aero Sport Power have been a great help. Initially, I had heard great stuff about the company and I can say that having my engine worked on every winter by the team not only improves my power, but also my safety, so I’m grateful for this partnership.”

Also singing the praises of the company is Kamloops-South Thompson MLA and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. On a recent visit to the airport, Minister Stone was impressed by the company’s vision. “It’s remarkable to have Progressive Air Group of Companies located in Kamloops,” said Stone. “The volume of work the three entities do as a cohesive company for customers worldwide, along with the innovative design on the 382 Wildcat engine, shows the talents and dedication of our workforce, and the ingenuity of this team.”

What’s on the horizon for the team at Progressive Air Group of Companies? To Rob, Todd and the team, it’s simple.

“We will continue servicing our customers and providing leading edge aviation technology,” says Rob.”With the three companies under the Progressive Air Group of Companies umbrella and the diversity of products and services we can provide to our clients, we can honestly say that the sky’s the limit!”