New boss for chopper trust
Greg Barrow isn’t shy of a challenge.
On July 1 he’ll take up the role of chief executive officer at the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust at a time when the air ambulance service is getting 40 per cent more call outs than it was three years ago and is continually fighting for funding.
‘‘It’s important to me that the service maintains the high standard it delivers to Auckland,’’ Mr Barrow says.
Probably the biggest project to hit his desk will be buying a new helicopter by 2015, at a cost of $14 million to $15m.
‘‘Obviously it will be a challenge to raise the money and then it will need to be set up, and the staff trained to use it,’’ he says.
The services’ two present helicopters are 26 and 28 years old.
They are still fully functional, but needs are changing.
‘‘On board there are the pilots, a doctor and in some cases a paramedic even before there is a patient.
‘‘The new helicopter will be able to take a bigger payload,’’ he says.
The Epsom man is an aviation industry veteran and is a pilot for Virgin Airlines and a selfemployed aviation consultant.
‘‘I married a girl that grew up around where we live and I was brought up in Mangere Bridge so we’ve moved about 7 miles in our life,’’ he says.
Present chief executive Bob Parkinson is retiring from his post after five years.
‘‘I stepped in on a temporary three-month contract initially but fell in love with it and stayed for five years,’’ he says.
‘‘Funding has been a daily, weekly, monthly challenge. We rely on about 50 per cent of funding to come from the community.
‘‘In saying that we do enjoy fantastic support from the Auckland community and corporates.’’
Mr Parkinson will remain a trustee of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust.