Kathryn Purwin has been the chief executive at Helinet since 2015, taking over for her husband and the company’s founder, Alan, after his passing. The former jet pilot now runs the helicopter service out of Van Nuys Airport, overseeing a staff of 85 who provide private chartered helicopter flights and manage firefighting helicopters, medical emergency airlifts and transplant organ transportation. While the pandemic slowed business, Purwin said the next year will bring growth. 

What did you learn from the pandemic? 

We’re a very hands-on business, because pilots have to be here to fly and do maintenance. So we’re a company that usually can’t, as a whole, work remotely. However, we did learn that some things could be done remotely here. Some of our meetings, we’re still holding remotely.  It’s actually a great thing, because now somebody is out of town, they don’t have to miss the meeting. Or if they’re home sick, they don’t have to miss the meeting. I think, like a lot of other businesses, we learned that it’s a different way to communicate, a different way to have meetings, to be more efficient online. And so that was good for us – it’s something that will carry through.


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