Pedro Hernandez and Kevin Lowe are the diverse duo behind Kanata Aviation Training, located at the High River Airport in Foothills County. Pedro comes from the Dominican Republic with a background in industrial and commercial aviation. He owned a manufacturing company and imported housewares. Kevin on the other hand started off in the UK working construction and flying helicopters. Pedro and Kevin’s paths crossed at Integra Air and business started over a simple ‘let’s get coffee’. One coffee turned into a year of coffee.
“Here in Canada, it is hard to get a hand when you are a start up.” Pedro explained that they had a hard time procuring start-up funding. Kevin noted that it was not just being a start up that was hard, it was being a start up in aviation.
“We knew the market was there, we knew it was the time to start a company and grow it. There are easy ways of doing it, but we decided not to go with the easy ways.”
“We wanted to do it the right way. If you don’t get things set up right from the start to try and change things when you’re already running it is hard.” said Pedro.
Kanata Aviation Training expects to grow, the issue is no longer funding, the issue is finding an aircraft. “It’s a different position to be in versus what we were. We’ve had 12 months where we can plan systems out, we tried all of them and we know everything that works. We are getting the more out of our aircrafts than any other school. Efficiency is good, and we have great instructors. We are very fortunate there.” said Kevin, “I think the big thing for any small business is that it does not matter whether you are a flower shop or this, if you do not set things out right, it will be difficult to carry on because you will forever be changing. You will have enough changes even if you set things out right. If you can limit them as much as possible you are going to be better off. I think that’s where we capitalized, we spent a lot of time planning.”
Pedro commented “If you take your time to really plan, the execution will be easier.”
“Certainly, for us planning it all out early on and getting it all set out beforehand saved a lot of work for us later. And it allows you to grow efficiently because the processes you know now still work later. You just follow the same routine you have already got, and it makes it easy to continue on.” Kevin stated, “Working with Community Futures Highwood was really good as well, they identified things we had not thought of. It was really intense but not because everything was avoided but because they were really trying to help us out.”
“I’m really grateful that Community Futures exists because if I was to tell you all of the places we had went for help you would be surprised. Until we found Community Futures which was willing to help. The mission is to help. I feel good that we found them.” said Pedro.
“It was still a big risk for Community Futures, it was still as much of a risk for them as it was for anyone else.” Kevin commented on the future of Kanata Aviation. “The next five years are going to be busy, if you can build a company now with the right standards it can then exist with mainstream companies. Our mission was really to build something that was sustainable rather than ride the wave now and shut down later.”
Kanata Aviation Training Website: https://www.kanataaviation.ca/