Who We Are

"In support of current ventures, and while continuously seeking new business opportunities, Cougar Helicopters Inc. adheres to the highest principles for safety and efficiency, exceeding industry standards and expectations for the safe transportation of passengers and the conduct of search and rescue operations."

Our Values


  • Ensuring the health and safety of employees.
  • Integrity in all aspects of business while delivering profitable sustainability.
  • Going beyond the legislated requirements to provide an accident-free workplace.


  • Trained, empowered and competent workforce.
  • Encouraging employees to take initiative and give their best.
  • Adopting a Just Culture environment that empowers employees to lead and make decisions.
  • Promoting a healthy work-life balance for all employees.


  • Committing to a high standard of product and service delivery.
  • Open and respectful communications with employees, customers and suppliers.
  • Respectful of diversity and supporter of equal opportunities.


  • Delivering on our priorities.
  • Contributing to local community and demonstrating corporate social responsibility.
  • Pursuing innovative ideas that have the potential to deliver positive change.

Senior Management

Ken Norie - President & CEO

Ken Norie obtained his commercial pilot's license with helicopter endorsement on his 18th birthday, making him the youngest person in Canadian history to achieve this certification. He joined VIH Helicopters as a pilot in 1973 and in 1978 moved to Prince Rupert as VIH's Base Manager. In 1986 he moved to Victoria as VIH's Marketing Manager and thereafter became VIH's Operations Manager. Mr. Norie held this position until 1991 when he founded VIH Logging Ltd. which was instrumental in obtaining the Canadian certification of Kamov KA32 helicopters in Canada for use in heli-logging. In 1999 he became the sole owner and President of VIH Helicopters and he rebranded and consolidated his growing group of aviation businesses under VIH Aviation Group Ltd. Under Mr. Norie's ownership the business has grown through acquisitions and strategic investments from a regional domestic VFR operator to a diversified group of aviation businesses providing helicopter services in Canada and internationally. Cougar Helicopters became a part of the VIH Aviation Group in 2003.

Hank Williams - Chief Operating Officer

Hank Williams commenced his career in the transportation industry in 1992 and joined Cougar Helicopters in 1996. Hired first as a Passenger Movements Coordinator, he advanced throughout the organization and was appointed General Manager in 2010 and Chief Operating Officer in 2016. A hands-on manager and leader, he holds responsibility for all of Cougar's offshore oil & gas and search & rescue operations globally. Hank has completed the Helicopter Association International's Helicopter Operator Management Course, is a member of London-based Heli Offshore and is a Director of the Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (NOIA).

JJ Gerber - Operations Services Manager

JJ Gerber has been flying since 1983 and joined Cougar Helicopters in 1997 at the start of oil production in Newfoundland & Labrador. Hired as a First Officer and progressing to Captain and Training Pilot, he also served as Chief Pilot for five years and in 2007 was appointed Director of Flight Operations. In 2016, he was appointed Operations Services Manager ensuring that the company delivers its operational mandate by overseeing the activities of the Pilot Operations, Passenger Handling, Dispatch, SAR and Maintenance departments. Mr. Gerber is endorsed on S76, S61, Super Puma and S92 and several smaller helicopters and maintains his license and IFR ratings. Immigrating to Canada from South Africa in 1995, he briefly worked as a commercial flight instructor in Ontario. Prior to immigrating, he worked for 13 years as a helicopter pilot in the South African Air Force where he flew on several UN deployments, search and rescue, ship-borne operations as well as two tours of duty in Antarctica.

Willis (Will) Jacobs - Safety and Quality Manager

Will Jacobs is Safety and Quality Manager joining the company in 2015. Prior to this, Will led the membership-based Aerospace & Defence Industry Association of Newfoundland & Labrador as its Executive Director for two years. Before that Will proudly served his country for 22 years as a member of the Canadian Military in a number of positions: Executive Officer with the Directorate Strategic Planning, NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe; Commanding Officer of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering; Chief of Staff, Wing Commander, 16 Wing, Borden; Team Leader Electrical/Test/Software Systems; Engineering & Maintenance Manger, 403 Helicopter Squadron; System Manager, Tactical Helicopters Avionics and Software; Project Support Officer, Helicopter Test & Evaluation Flight; Maintenance & Engineering Officer, 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron; Desk Officer, CH147 (Chinook), CH113(Labrador), CH118(Iroquois) Helicopter Fleets; and Electronics Technician, 447 Helicopter Squadron. Will received his Bachelor of Science Physics Degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador; an Aerospace & Engineering degree from Canadian Forces School Aerospace Engineering; and his Masters of Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Jonathan Mahoney - Finance Manager

Jonathan Mahoney joined Cougar Helicopters in 2013 as Accounting Manager and in December 2015 was appointed Finance Manager. Prior to joining Cougar, he was Senior Corporate Accountant at Verafin Inc., a company specializing in fraud detection and anti-money laundering software for the banking industry, where he led a team of finance professionals for a still young and up-and-coming organization. Previously, he was Senior Accountant and Associate with Grant Thornton LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP respectively, where through years of auditing organizations in various industries he developed his keen attention to detail. Mr. Mahoney received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador in 2005 and has been a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Newfoundland & Labrador since 2009.

Mark Broderick - Human Resources Manager

Mark Broderick is Human Resources Manager. Since joining Cougar Helicopters in 2013, he has been providing senior leadership in all areas of human resource management, including labour relations. Prior to joining Cougar, Mr. Broderick gained progressive human resources experience by working in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces with federal and provincial legislation since 1998. Mr. Broderick is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador receiving his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1998 and his Masters of Employment Relations in 2009.

Morris Kendell - Maintenance Manager

Employed in the aircraft maintenance industry since 1983, Morris Kendell joined Cougar Helicopters in 2008 as Quality Assurance Inspector, in 2013 he accepted the position of Base Engineer and in November 2017 he was appointed Maintenance Manager. Mr. Kendell also holds the titles of Controlled Goods Designated Official and Minister's Delegate-Maintenance – an appointment by the Minister of Transport for issuance of Certificates of Airworthiness and Exportation Airworthiness Certificates of aircraft. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Kendell was the Owner/President of Kendell Aviation Services Inc., providing maintenance consultation and import and export services for aircraft on an international basis; Manager Aircraft Maintenance with Provincial Airlines; Manager Technical Services with Canjet Airlines; and Director of Maintenance with Air Atlantic. He has endorsements on ten different aircraft types. In 2017 Mr. Kendell received the prestigious Earl Blakney/Aviall Award by the AME Association for outstanding performance in the aviation industry.

Historical Milestones

  1. 1984

    Incorporated on February 10, 1984 by Ingo Strackenjan and Earl MacFarland, providing shuttle service from airport to downtown

  2. 1987

    Jim Johnston becomes the new owner of Cougar Helicopters

  3. 1990

    First offshore support contract – Gijon, Spain

  4. 1991

    Commenced offshore support contract in Nova Scotia

    First Canadian civilian SAR contract (S76), Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

  5. 1993

    Commenced EMS Operations – Nova Scotia and Ontario

  6. 1995

    Awarded HMDC offshore support contract – St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

  7. 1997

    Completion of St. John's Heliport at St. John's International Airport, Newfoundland & Labrador

    Commenced operations in St. John's utilizing Super Puma and S61

  8. 1998

    Awarded Petro Canada (now Suncor) offshore support contract – St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

  9. 2002

    Awarded Husky Energy offshore support contract – St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

  10. 2003

    Cougar purchased from Jim Johnston by VIH Aviation Group, of Victoria, British Columbia whose roots date back to 1955

  11. 2005

    Introduced S92 to Newfoundland & Labrador offshore market

    Commenced SAS/SAR operations in Gulf of Mexico & North West Territories

  12. 2006

    Commenced SAS/SAR operations in Alaska

  13. 2007

    Entered Australian offshore oil & gas market

  14. 2009

    Introduction of S92 to Gulf of Mexico operations

    Awarded Encana contract in Nova Scotia

    Commenced EMS services in British Columbia with Bell 222

  15. 2010

    Commenced operations in Greenland for oil & gas sector

    Dedicated SAR aircraft for Newfoundland & Labrador offshore – reduces 60 minute response time to 30

    Introduced Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) to SAR

  16. 2011

    Opened Halifax Heliport at Halifax International Airport, Nova Scotia

  17. 2012

    Introduced Automatic Flight Control Systems (AFCS)/ Autohover to SAR operations

    Completion of dedicated SAR facility in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador – reduces 30 minute response time to 20

    Bristow Helicopters invests in Cougar

  18. 2013

    Introduction of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) for SAR flight crews

    Awarded the prestigious Excellence in SAR Innovation by the National SAR Secretariat

  19. 2014

    Awarded multi-year, multi-aircraft contract with ExxonMobil Canada Properties, Hibernia Management & Development, Suncor & Husky

  20. 2016

    Officially opened new Heliport and Hangar in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

  21. 2017

    2017 commemorates 20 years of service to the Newfoundland & Labrador offshore oil and gas industry

  22. 2019

    Cougar celebrates 35 years of aviation