Faces of Columbia Helicopters
At Columbia Helicopters, we bring a team of operators and maintenance experts with nearly 60 years of experience, to precisely command fleets of helicopters for heavy-lift operations, and to provide unmatched capabilities in MRO service and support. You will see in our new advertising campaign the faces of Columbia Helicopters because we believe, we’re more than just helicopters, our people make it possible.
Featuring Paul Leach
Paul is a native Oregonian, a decorated Gulf War Vet, and a proud employee of Columbia Helicopters, now in his twenty-third year. Before joining Columbia, Paul served in the military, earning multiple Air Medals in Desert Storm. Paul says that even as a kid, growing up not far from the Columbia Helicopters Headquarters in Oregon, he always dreamed of flying.
Paul joined the Army in 1988, because he knew it was his best chance to fly. 5 years later, with his first child on the way, he came to Columbia Helicopters as a Logging Operations Field Mechanic. As Paul says, it wasn’t just the helicopters that drew him here. “Integrity in what you say and do defines you as a person, and a company. When Columbia Helicopters makes a commitment to do something, we do it.”
Paul rose quickly through the ranks to his current role as Director of Military Maintenance. As a former solider, he understands the needs and expectations of the military, so he can find solutions quickly. He recalls, “The U.S. Army had corrosion problems with the transmissions of their Chinook fleet; we had the solution. We fly Chinooks so we know the problems and how to fix them.”
Since stepping into his current role, Paul has worked ceaselessly to strengthen Columbia’s relationship with the U.S. Military and its allies. “Those relationships are the best,” he says. “Working with soldiers, helping them to be successful. Seeing our solutions make a difference for the folks who defend our freedom, that’s what I get excited about.”
“There is no better feeling then knowing we’re helping our soldiers come home safe.”
Featuring Leo Keelan
Leo E. Keelan is an Avionics Lead Technician with Columbia Helicopters. He’s been with the company for 15 years, starting as a Radio Shop Technician and working his way up. He takes pride in his job, in both the work that he does and the people he works with.
“As a lead, it’s important that I provide guidance and support for the people I supervise, and our crews out in the field. With operations worldwide and our unique expertise in helicopter flight and maintenance, we never have a dull week.”
After 8 years in the Army National Guard, Leo used the GI Bill to earn two associate degrees, in Electronic Technology and Avionics, graduating in 2001. He’s been with us ever since because—as he says—he loves constantly facing new and different challenges.
“Every day tends to be a new challenge and my team and I get to be a part of the solution. One of our objectives is employee skill development, and through that I’ve been able to grow within the company.” He adds with a smile, “plus, where else can you work on really cool helicopters like these?”
Leo was born and raised in North Dakota, and has always had a very strong work ethic. He says he’s proud to be part of a company that goes the extra mile to get things done right, and that’s what he’s found working for Columbia Helicopters.
“Seeing a product we fix go into the aircraft and get it back online is so rewarding. We are a family here; it takes all of us working together to keep Columbia moving forward.”
“It just doesn’t get much better than that.”