Joe Randell (BEng (NSTC)'76, LLD'15)

Photo: Nick Pearce

For Dr. Joe Randell (BEng (NSTC)’76, LLD’15), President and CEO of Halifax-based Chorus Aviation Inc., it’s simple: “Initiatives like the new IDEA Project help create the opportunities and infrastructure needed to keep our best and brightest minds here, at home in Nova Scotia.”

The Corner Brook native, who graduated in 1976 with his degree in industrial engineering from Nova Scotia Technical College, believes passionately in the region, its potential and its future. That’s why Jazz Aviation Inc. – a Chorus subsidiary and one of Canada’s leading regional airlines – has partnered on research with Dalhousie Engineering for close to ten years.

“Our heavy maintenance facility here in Halifax, Jazz Technical Services, is a rapidly growing side to our business, which also includes contract flying operations, engineering and fleet management,” explains Dr. Randell. “Besides keeping our Jazz fleet of 113 planes in top working order, we’re now attracting operators and servicing third-party aircraft from across the US and other parts of Canada.”

“The talent inside our organization focuses on production,” adds Dr. Randell. “For research, however, we need to source this talent elsewhere. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to go any further than the engineering students and faculty at Dalhousie.”

In the commercial airline industry, safety is paramount. That’s why every aircraft undergoes a series of intensive, complete checks on a regular basis. But an aircraft in the hangar isn’t producing revenue. Ensuring the highest of safety and quality standards while moving the aircraft through maintenance as efficiently as possible is essential – and goes to the heart of industrial engineering.

Since 2008, undergraduate and graduate students – and their professors – have worked with Jazz on a wide range of initiatives designed to improve maintenance logistics and business efficiency.  Through both co-op and graduate research projects, the students bring current industrial engineering thinking and innovative approaches to problem solving. “In turn, they experience first-hand the practical day-to-day requirements of industry and bring that knowledge back to the classroom,” says Dr. Randell. “We’ve even hired a number of them.”

“From the outset, Dalhousie and Jazz have worked together as partners,” adds Dr. Randell. Appropriately, Chorus Aviation Inc.’s generous gift to the IDEA Campaign will fund a collaborative meeting space for students. Randell, a 2015 Honorary Degree recipient, has also made a personal gift to the campaign in appreciation of the engineering school that launched his career.

“I’ve lived in Nova Scotia most of my life. Chorus is based here. We have an allegiance to Nova Scotia; it’s where our roots are,” adds Dr. Randell. “We’re a growing company. Our continued success and that of our subsidiaries – Jazz Aviation, Voyageur Aviation and the new Chorus Aviation Capital Corporation – depends our attracting highly qualified professionals.”

“Our vision is to deliver regional aviation to the world.  To do so, we need to keep our talent here.”

“That’s why we’re investing through Dalhousie to create a prosperous future for NS and Canada.”