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CHC Helicopter provides airlift services for the global offshore oil-and-gas industry.

It is also pioneering the private contracting of search and rescue services for European civil governments.

Mr. Mullet, a chartered accountant by training, has a very simple explanation for his success: "I'm surrounded by people who know more than I do. They're very highly skilled at what they do."

"You are always learning here," he adds. "We're not just selling widgets. What we do is very technical and constantly changing. Our oil and gas clients have very fast-paced needs that change from day to day."

The St. John's native, now based in Aberdeen, Scotland, has moved quickly since arriving in Europe. Mr. Mullet consolidated CHC's European business units into a single integrated operation that created the first cross-national structure of its kind in the industry, resulting in more than $20-million in savings. A radical restructuring of the company's U.K. pension plan led to the longest term union agreements ever achieved in that jurisdiction, creating improved employee satisfaction and attracting scarce skilled labour to the operation.

Mr. Mullet's current challenge is one of implementing a major change in the technology of his helicopter fleet. CHC is transforming its aircraft from the state-of-the art of the present day into the helicopter fleet of the future, bringing new types of aircraft on-line.

"These are helicopters no one has ever seen before," Mr. Mullet says. "The last time this was done was 20 years ago."

Another major initiative has been Mr. Mullet's spearheading of CHC's move into privately contracted search and rescue services for European governments.

Until recently, most air rescue was provided by military services, but European governments are looking to the private sector for cost effectiveness and more consistent staff support.

At the moment, though, Mr. Mullet is expecting another imminent airlift: from the stork. His third child is due any day, so he's sticking close to home base in Scotland.

Antoine Nohra, 36

Chairman, Credico Marketing Inc., Montreal


To discern the secret of Antoine Nohra's success, you need only ask the personable chairman of Credico Marketing to talk about himself.

The interviewer will discover that somehow the tables have been turned, and the subject of the conversation has unaccountably become the interviewer's interests, not Mr. Nohra's.

That he naturally shifts his focus onto his guest is evidence of the strong relationship-building skills that have propelled Mr. Nohra's companies, Credico Marketing and Cardex, into the top rank of international face-to-face credit card acquisition companies.

They dominate 70 per cent of the market in Canada alone and deliver the privately held venture more than $80-million in revenue annually. Clients include major banks and retailers worldwide.

"I do love people," he says. "It can be anyone; I always establish a relationship with everyone in the room. I have no problem going through the receptionist, the assistants, the advisers before I meet the person I want to see.

"I like to bring out the best in others: that's my real pleasure in life," he adds.

Complimented about his award, he quickly demurs.

"You know, I should cut this Top 40 [award]into pieces and give it to so many people in my company."

His proudest boast?

"I like to think that I offer every new employee a chance to succeed equal to the one I had when I began."

Mr. Nohra's first opportunity in Canada wasn't obviously fraught with promise. Arriving from Beirut with a degree in business administration, he chose Montreal because he could speak only French. But he quickly discovered that without "Canadian experience" his employment opportunities were fairly limited.

Mr. Nohra finally applied to a credit card marketing organization and said he'd be willing to work "out of town" instead of the Montreal territory that everyone else coveted.

"They said, 'Okay, you've got Corner Brook,' " on the west coast of Newfoundland.

"I didn't even know where it was. I thought it was a suburb," he says, laughing.

Nevertheless, he quickly became the company's top salesman. "It was like a dream to get promoted to Halifax."

Beginning at home 14 years ago with a $5,000 loan and a commitment to grow beyond the mom-and-pop model that was the norm among credit card recruitment companies at the time, Mr. Nohra now employs more than 1,400 people worldwide.

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