After graduating from École Polytechnique de Montreal with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Michael Nault began an exciting career at Bell in 2006 as an Airframe Structures Engineer. After only a few years at Bell, he was selected by Textron to participate in a leadership development program where he moved to the United States for three years. He worked as a Product Engineer at Kautex, an automotive business unit of Textron, then went to Bell’s Research & Development center to work flight test on the BA609 (Now AW609) tiltrotor. He ended the rotational program at Lycoming engines as a Systems Engineer before coming back to Mirabel in 2011 to manage the technical team supporting the Bell 206L4 and 407 assembly lines. In 2013, Michael was named Chief Engineer for the light single helicopters, becoming technically accountable for the models 206L4 and 407.
Over the course of two years, Michael led his team in implementing several safety enhancements, performance improvements and pilot workload reduction features that lead to the successful launch of the Bell 407GXP at Heli-Expo in 2015, where they also announced an order for 200 Bell 407GXPs, one of the largest commercial helicopter orders in Bell’s history. Michael was recognized in 2015 for this successful new product by winning the Larry D. Bell Pioneer Award and also the Textron Chairman’s Award for Innovation. In late 2015, Michael was named Program Director for Bell’s light single helicopters. Michael’s diverse engineering background and innovative thinking was used to make the 407GXP an even better product for our industry with the launch of the 407GXi at the 2018 Heli-Expo. Michael was also named on the Top 20 under 40 in Aerospace list by Canadian magazines Wings and Helicopters.
In 2018, Michael transferred from Bell to another Textron business unit, TRU Simulation + Training in Montreal. As the Engineering Vice-President overseeing the Air Transport Simulation side of the business, he was responsible for new product development as well as supporting the existing fleet of simulators worldwide.
Michael returned to Bell in early 2020 to lead the Mirabel Completion Center. He was responsible for completing, certifying and delivering all commercial helicopters out of the Mirabel facility.
Today, as the Director of Commercial Programs, Michael is responsible for program strategy, profitability, configuration control, certification, continuing airworthiness, supplier engagement, obsolescence, transitions, project management, production, fleet and sales support for all of the commercial helicopters in production.
Lawrence Hughes is an accomplished human resources executive with over 20 years of experience. He leads a team focused on providing high levels of service and value, with responsibility for workplace culture, team engagement, policy development, leadership development, talent acquisition and management, payroll and benefits, while also contributing to company-wide training strategies.
Prior to joining Porter on a full time basis, Lawrence operated a human resources consulting firm, offering talent management, organizational development and change management services to a wide range of clients. He has also held operational and human resources leadership roles for West 49 Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., Roots Canada Limited, Dylex Limited and Hudson’s Bay Company.
Gandeephan joined WestJet in 2018, transferring from his prior role as General Electric Canada’s Chief Innovation Officer. In his role as GE Canada’s CIO, Gandeephan led GE’s digital industrial innovation platform across all the major industrial verticals in Canada (Aviation, Oil and Gas, Power & Healthcare), growing their new product pipeline value to more than $2 B.
Upon joining WestJet in 2018, Gandeephan assumed the role of WestJet’s business transformation leader taking responsibility for both the global project management office as well as the Lean transformation team. Gandeephan was responsible for the execution of major projects (including introduction of the 787 fleet) and cost efficiency platforms across the enterprise which delivered over $120 M in savings over 2 years.
Gandeephan transitioned to lead the supply chain and procurement organization in Apr of 2020. In this role he was responsible for a team of over 130 professionals across major categories of spend including operations, commercial and IT. As Vice President of Supply Chain and Procurement Gandeephan led the investment of $4.5M in new systems implementations to upgrade inventory management and source to pay processes. He and his team also led cost saving measures across various contracts negotiations ranging from airport labor outsourcing to our Sabre Passenger Service System and all the heavy maintenance contracts (Engine and Airframe) in Technical Operations. These efforts executed over 1.5 years will deliver significant CASM impact to WestJet’s 5-year plan. Gandeephan started his new role as Vice President of Technical Operations on Jan 1st, 2022. He currently manages over 750 AMEs and support staff to ensure the safety and reliability of our fleet of 130 narrow bodies, 47 Qs and 7 wide body aircraft.
Gandeephan is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (Engineering) and University of Toronto (MBA) and now calls Calgary home where he lives with his wife and 2 daughters. Gandeephan is passionate about building learning organizations that display agility and resilience and spends his spare time mentoring local startups on scaling innovative technologies into the right markets.