Welcome to this edition of the NHV Employee Spotlight Feature, with the goal of shining a spotlight on the pivotal role our employees play at NHV, including; their journeys so far, and how NHV aims to create an innovative, inclusive and dynamic workforce.
Hello to Rob de Vries, Base Manager of Den Helder, The Netherlands.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and who you are?
I’m happily married for almost 38 years now, and together with my wife, Ester, we have 3 kids and 5 grandkids.
I started in 1985 in aviation as an Air Traffic Controller in the Dutch Royal Navy in Den Helder and Valkenburg. After 6 years I changed careers from the Navy to Schreiner Airways, flying for NAM/Shell, as cabin crew on the Dauphin. Can you imagine this with my height of 1.91mtr/6.26feet? After almost 23 years working worldwide in different positions at Schreiner Airways/Schreiner Northsea Helicopters/CHC, I left the helicopter world and worked at Schiphol for a maintenance company followed by a job as an Operational Manager Transport in the catering sector for Fixed Wing Aircraft.
At that point, I got an email from Nexus Flight Operations Services, a company in Saudi Arabia, asking if I was interested in working for them to convert Saudi Aramco's helicopters onto a scheduling program. So back in the helicopter world! Because they asked me to live in Saudi Arabia, after a year of commuting, I stopped working for them.
After spending some time at home, I started at Bel Air Aviation in 2019 as Director Ground Operations, but unfortunately due to the Covid I had to leave after a year. Since May 2022 I now work at NHV as Base Manager in Den Helder.
3 Fun Facts about you:
1. I always carry a little pig and a small car in my pocket, it’s just a game which we play with ca. 15 people.
2. At the beginning of my career in civil aviation, my family and I still lived on the island of Texel. I travelled daily by helicopter from Texel Airport, where Schreiner Airways was located, to Den Helder Airport. A 10-minute flight. And of course, back in the evening.
3. When I made the roster of the pilots on the former Maasvlakte Heliport about 20-25 years ago, I occasionally hired NHV pilots and later also the helicopter to help out.
What led you to pursue a career in Aviation?
There was still military service at the time, and I was told through the grapevine that there was a position as an Air Traffic Controller in the Dutch Navy. This was a 6-year contract which I really enjoyed doing. This triggered my interest in aviation and at that moment Schreiner Airways crossed my path.
What do you find exciting about the industry and what is something specific about your role at NHV that you love doing?
No day is the same in Aviation.
The best thing about my role as Base Manager is that you see at the end of the day that the job has been done without any problems like flight cancellations and/or delays.
For example in the month of June, we managed to perform 80 flights without any delays, with only one helicopter!
Can you tell us a bit about a favourite project or experience that you’ve had at NHV?
Celebrating the 25th anniversary was a highlight for me, not only for our base in Den Helder but for the whole NHV Group.
How do you define success?
For me, success is encouraging the entire team to get the job done and as a result end the day without any flight delays or cancellations.
What are some of the things that you like to do, outside of work?
I like to help my wife with her embroidery studio and often I accompany my 13-year-old grandson who is into Formula 2 Stockcar Racing.
Furthermore, I spend time working on my road legal dune buggy powered by a Hayabusa engine.
And of course, I enjoy BBQ and beers with family and friends during the weekend!
What are some words of advice you would give to others who are considering pursuing a career in Aviation?
Most people can only enjoy Aviation when they go on vacation with an airplane.
But, in my opinion, the aviation industry is a separate altogether. If you have the chance to get into aviation: do it, no day is the same.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The team in Den Helder looks forward to hiring new pilots, and to have a second helicopter on the base to expand our work scope.