The Mesa, Arizona helicopter manufacturer, emerges from bankruptcy ready to stabilize and support customers with an eye on future growth.
By Jennifer Ferrero
Brad Pedersen, the newly announced president of MD Helicopters LLC, is no-nonsense regarding the company's future. After three years of working through a bankruptcy process with a compilation of companies, Pedersen said that MD Helicopters is ready to focus on its core business – the customers and after-market support. The 35-year aerospace veteran said that the company is financially strong, and the bankruptcy was a collateralized loan fund that included ownership of several companies. It wasn't a bankruptcy borne of poor financial management.
The company, previously known as MD Helicopters, Inc., started by Howard Hughes in 1947, has had various owners like McDonnell-Douglas, The Boeing Company, RDM Holdings, and Patriarch Partners, LLC.
MD Helicopters, LLC is now owned by an investment consortium comprised of MBIA Insurance, Bardin Hill Investment Partners LP, and MB Global Partners.
Pedersen announced that the board of directors has changed, along with key leaders. All new board members are career aerospace and defense executives. Several new board members have deep financial backgrounds. The board's new chairman is Ed Dolanski, a former Boeing executive who ran the after-market business before retirement. Also notable is General Gus Perna, who worked with former President Trump in Operation Warp Speed to help roll out the initial Covid 19 vaccines. Pedersen said, "General Perna knows how to get things done in the government in Washington."
Other than new leadership and focusing on stabilizing the business, Pedersen said that the staff of about 250 will stay. He hopes to hire soon for critical positions that saw attrition during the pandemic and bankruptcy. They are staying in Mesa, Arizona, in a commercial community of other aerospace and defense companies. Pedersen added that Arizona is business friendly.
While he said there had been constraints to operations per bankruptcy court, they are ready to look at ramping up production in 2023 with a production mix of both civil and defense aircraft.
But before that, the new leaders and board will work to ensure the current customers are happy. "We will have parts inventory on the shelves," said Pedersen. "The after-market needs to be treated as an essential business," he added. He feels that new sales and after-market sales go together. They've brought Ryan Weeks from Bell Helicopters to help with the after-market function.
Down the road, they see an implementation of some new technologies. Still, they will continue to serve the critical markets of law enforcement, utilities, and VIP fliers with the MD 500E, MD 520N, and MD530F and MD 902 Explorer helicopters, with service and sales on the military aircraft Armed MD 530F.
The company NOTAR® Technology also offers a quieter flight than similar helicopters of that size, which could be something to watch for the future.
Pedersen seems optimistic and ready to work in his new role with MD Helicopters, and will work to improve profits, customer support, the relationship with Boeing, and making the business a rewarding place for employees.
READ MORE ROTOR PRO: https://justhelicopters.com/Magazine
WATCH ROTOR PRO YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://buff.ly/3Md0T3y
You can also find us on
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/rotorpro1
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/rotorpro1
Twitter - https://twitter.com/justhelicopters
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/rotorpro1