Bristow Group today announced the appointment of Samantha Willenbacher to regional director for the Americas Region effective August 1, 2016. Willenbacher replaces Rob Phillips, who has been promoted to the previously announced position of vice president global business operations services.
In her new role, Willenbacher will be responsible for directing Bristow’s industrial aviation services, overseeing the company’s helicopter transportation and search and rescue (SAR) services in North America, South America, Latin America and Trinidad. She will be based in Houston, Texas.
Willenbacher most recently served as director UK SAR where she was responsible for the launch of Bristow’s civilian SAR helicopter service for the UK on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. Under her leadership, the UK SAR team opened nine UK SAR bases, took delivery of 24 aircraft, recruited and trained more than 300 new personnel, including the managed transition project with the military, and fostered excellent relationships with key partners.
“Samantha has done a wonderful job overseeing the launch and operations of UK SAR. She has developed great relationships with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), many SAR partners, and numerous community organizations. Her knowledge and 18 years of experience at Bristow will be a valuable asset to the Americas business,” said Chet Akiri, Bristow Group chief commercial officer and acting senior vice president of global operations.
Willenbacher previously served as the director of Bristow Academy in Florida, and held several other positions at Bristow Academy and its predecessor Helicopter Adventures, in the years prior. Before joining Bristow in 1998, she served as an administrator for the Methodology Institute at the London School of Economics.
Bristow was awarded the ten-year UK SAR contract by the Department for Transport in March 2013.
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