By DAVID PARKER, CALGARY HERALD
Published on: July 26, 2016 | Last Updated: July 26, 2016 7:30 AM MDT
John Hopkinson, founder and CEO of Hopkinson Aircraft Sales has spent a lot of time in Scottsdale, Arizona, since he purchased a home there some 20 years ago. His company that acquires, brokers and sells new and pre-owned corporate jets has become the largest importer and exporter of corporate aircraft in Canada and much of his business is done stateside, and through the Airpark at Scottsdale Airport.
Among the many friends he has accumulated over the years in the U.S. is Glenn Williamson who moved to Arizona 30 years ago from Calgary, where he was a director of sales for Sunshine Village working out of Ralph Scurfield’s Nu-West office
Williamson is honorary consul general for Canada in Arizona, the chair of EPCOR USA — the largest water utility in Arizona and New Mexico — and the keen founder and CEO of Canada Arizona Business Council. The organization has 100 members promoting bilateral tourism, trade and investment and counts Hopkinson as a hard working participant.
Earlier this year Williamson and Hopkinson ran a test event at Airpark called Scottsdale Wings and Wheels, a private showcase to 250 clients, friends and prospective clients who enjoyed a reception surrounded by 10 planes and 15 high performance luxury cars.
The success of the venture has led to Hopkinson Aircraft Sales, now under the hands-on management of John’s sons — president Andrew and senior vice-president Keith — to open an office at the Scottsdale Airport and with plans to make next January’s Wings and Wheels even bigger.
Twenty aircraft will be on display along with 25 to 30 more “eye candy” high performance automobiles and Bombardier, Morgan Stanley and Ross Aviation are on board as sponsors.
It presents a great opportunity for Hopkinson to show off his planes to high net worth Americans and Star Spangled Canadians. Some 70 per cent of its transactions are cross-border.
Next year’s event will also raise funds for two charities: the U.S. “Friends of Freedom” and Canadian military charity “True Patriot Love.”
Hopkinsons’ aviation roots date back to his father being the first pilot with a home-built plane who trained other pilots and then began selling for locals out of his home in Goderich, Ont.
John moved to Calgary and began selling aircraft out of an Eagle Helicopters hangar at the old airport before moving into the Shell Aerocentre (now re-named as Signature Flight Support) in Aviation Park off McKnight Blvd. N.E.
Today it has a staff of 15 at the company’s Calgary head office, an accounting and legal office at Water Valley and besides the new Scottsdale office has exclusive sales people operating out of Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver.
Services include aircraft acquisitions, a sophisticated process that requires efficiencies to deliver a seamless, turnkey experience for clients, and remarketing that requires in-depth industry knowledge, market analysis skills and the ability to answer any question put forward by potential buyers.
The company conducts appraisals requiring a thorough assessment of an aircraft to determine its value, a mandatory technical evaluation and records audit by an independent engineer, and a full inspection report.
A full-time research department provides clients with access to digital research systems for all corporate turbine and jet aircraft while maintaining a manual research library with logs of all commuter and airline type equipment.
Andrew says in-house consulting services permit Hopkinson Aviation Sales to report on corporate aviation operations, both present and proposed, as well as market trends.
Special projects such as evaluating foreign business and political climates, emergency medical health transport support, and aviation applications in new frontiers are an integral part of his consulting services.
Currently he says business in Toronto is very strong and Calgary has 40 planes listed for sale. Many will land up in the U.S. but buyers are found all around the world.
In his role as executive vice-president Western Canada for Cohn & Wolfe, the global communications and public relations firm, Larry Clausen is busy running both its Calgary and Vancouver offices.
He has always had a passion for ballet and is also using his creative talents to support it.
Clausen has been involved with Alberta Ballet since 1987 when he helped engineer the merger of Calgary City Ballet and Alberta Ballet Edmonton in 1990. Simply a patron for a long time he is back leading the board for the fourth time through a sustainability program it is implementing.