They say when one hangar door closes, another one opens. The AEM story began in 2009 when respected avionics company, Northern Airborne Technology, ceased business after thirty years. Employees saw an opportunity to purchase it and have since grown the new company AEM into a vertically integrated provider of specialty aviation solutions, and they’ve never looked back.
Today, AEM is an approved OEM supplier to aircraft manufacturers such as Bell, Boeing Rotorcraft, Leonardo, Airbus Helicopters, Sikorsky and Embraer. In their 32,000 square foot Kelowna facility, over 100 highly specialized people design, develop and manufacture avionics components such as loudspeaker systems, caution/warning panels, illuminated panels and keyboards, and specialty audio products. Having experienced substantial growth in recent years, AEM will soon begin construction on a new 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Kelowna’s north end.
“In our industry, AEM is considered a small to medium sized business,” explains CEO Brian Wall. “We operate in a niche market, so the majority of our products compete with only two or three key competitors. Our employees’ commitment to high standards and continuous improvement are instrumental in achieving a high level of customer satisfaction.”
“The aerospace industry has become a key economic driver in the region and Kelowna is an attractive place for emerging talent looking to develop their careers. We find that many non-local applicants want to move here because of the relaxed, vacation-style setting in a growing city full of opportunity.”
Attracting qualified talent in such a specialized area can be challenging for AEM, but professional networking and community outreach help them find the people they need. “We’re fortunate to work through the COEDC “Connector” program,”explains Wall. “I help mentor young professionals looking to practice their craft here in the Okanagan. The goal is to retain the talent that comes through our local educational institutions.”
“The aerospace industry has become a key economic driver in the region and Kelowna is an attractive place for emerging talent looking to develop their careers. We find that many non-local applicants want to move here because of the relaxed, vacation-style setting; they can enjoy the lakes, trails and other amenities at their doorstep, in a growing city full of opportunity.”