...a company that flies above its competition and believes its employees are the most critical component to its success
Niagara Falls, NY- April 27, 2010- Niagara Helicopters Limited, an aerial tour company based in Niagara Falls, Ontario, was presented with Canadian Business-of-the-Year Award. Niagara University’s College of Business Administration was pleased to recognize a company that flies above its competition and believes its employees are the most critical component to its success.
“I spend a good part of my day in the air and looking down on the ground where people look like ants. Not mine. At Niagara Helicopters, my employees are GIANTS-they walk tall, they carry more than their share of the load and they are only too anxious to speak their minds. As I see it, that’s the only way we improve our business”, says Hafen. “To me, they’re not badge numbers or identified by their positions. To me, they’ve become friends who happen to work with me every day”.
“For its commitment to fostering good business relationships and its support of community organizations and activities, Niagara University’s College of Business Administration is proud to honour Niagara helicopters Limited, by presenting it with the Canadian Business of-the-year Award for 2010” -said Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., the President of Niagara University, NY at the award ceremony.
Throughout a lifetime President and Chief Pilot of Niagara Helicopters, Ruedi Hafen has strived for excellence. He bought the Pan-Air heliport in Niagara Falls in February 1985 and began business with a one helicopter, but by the following spring added three more. Gradually, he refurbished the whole operation inside and out and added a state of the art award winning Heli-Hafen terminal building in 2003. Today Niagara Helicopters flies five, beautifully-painted Bell 407s. All along the way, Niagara Helicopters and Ruedi Hafen have gathered recognition for excellence. From their “eye in the sky”, Niagara Helicopters has reported fires, chased criminals and rescued people trapped in the Niagara gorge. For his volunteer work Hafen has received commendations from firefighters, police, paramedics, the Niagara Parks Commission and the City of Niagara Falls. Included in the tributes to Niagara Helicopters are Major Attraction of the Year awards, Outstanding Business Achievement awards; Hafen has been honoured as Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year, as recipient of the Grand Misty Award and the Ontario Volunteer Service Award. Hafen was awarded the Bronze Medal for Bravery for saving humans life. Ruedi Hafen has also had the opportunity as a pilot himself to fly some celebrities, including singer Elton John, actor Russell Crowe, Formula One ace Michael Schumacher, golfer Greg Norman “the great white Shark”, TV hosts Regis and Kelly, and many others.
Hafen was thrilled by receiving this award; he said “I would like to congratulate all of the Award Recipients and especially tonight’s winning Students Keith Seitz and Rochelle Greek, because I believe the future lies in our young people. It is an honor for me to be included in the company of such a distinguished group of people.” Hafen compared his business strategies with the famous song by Irvin Berlin and shared some with the audience: “First: You have to showcase your business to create awareness and make it attractive and exciting. Second: Your business has to go on stage no matter what, even if you are sometimes the only performer. Third: The number and quality of performances will make the success of your business.”
The 2010 Canadian Business-of-the-Year Award was accepted by President and Chief Pilot of Niagara Helicopters Limited, Ruedi Hafen.