New chief takes over pilot’s seat
Greg Barrow challenge.
On July 1 he takes up the role of chief executive officer at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust.
He is moving into the top seat at a time when the air ambulance service is getting 40 per cent more callouts than three years ago and is continually fighting a funding battle.
‘‘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 the purchase of a new helicopter by 2015.
It will come at a cost of $14 million to $15m.
isn’t shy of a
‘‘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’ present two 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 resident is a veteran of the aviation industry and is a pilot for Virgin Airlines and a self-employed 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.
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 50 per cent of funding to come from the community.
Mr Parkinson will remain a trustee of the trust.
Changing hands: Greg Barrow,
right, will lead the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust from
July when present chief executive Bob Parkinson retires.