New Team, New Focus at MD Helicopters

 - April 29, 2021, 3:42 PM
While reentering the commercial market with renewed focus, MD Helicopters' main business remains foreign military sales. (Photo: MD Helicopters)

A new management team has taken the helm at MD Helicopters (MDHI). “It’s a new day for MD Helicopters,” said Alan Carr, currently the company’s sole director and acting CEO. Since taking over MDHI from Lynn Tilton, Carr has moved quickly to shore up customer support and return the company to relevancy in the commercial market. MDHI had been completely preoccupied with lucrative foreign military sales of its MD500 series scout/attack helicopters in recent years and had all but vanished from the commercial market. 

In August, Carr, who specializes in turning around distressed companies, appointed several new senior executives, part of an overall larger new team that has been assembled since Tilton resigned in March 2020 after running MDHI since 2005. 

Marc Brodeur, MDHI’s new v-p of commercial and military sales, is a retired U.S. Army colonel and aviator who has held senior positions at Smiths Aerospace, Goodrich, and Ultra Electronics Flight Line Systems. “MD is a great place to be today,” said Brodeur, who praises the company’s new “culture and the entrepreneurial spirit. Alan has done a great job bringing in people and giving us the latitude to go out and sell the helicopter to the world. We are really focusing on supporting the end-user and the customer with anything—parts, data, support, responses to inquiries—we are doing and will continue to do better. It’s a different place.” 

Brodeur hired two new sales directors to focus on the commercial market and since August the company has logged the sales of 10 new MD500 series helicopters: one MD530E and the remainder MD530Fs. This is particularly remarkable as these sales were achieved in the Covid-hobbled market after MDHI had not made a single new commercial sale in five years, Brodeur said.

“The platform sells itself," he said. "We just have to put people out there to go sell it.” Work is continuing on certifying a glass cockpit for the 530E and the company now officially has an independent research and development budget to fund future product improvement. 

MD has also has improved its support of the estimated 100 in-service MD900-series light twins, Brodeur said. “We made the decision some months ago that we were going to do a better job of supporting the 900s that are still out there. We found new suppliers for pitch casings and tail booms and blades and so on. While we are not currently per se producing the MD902, we do have customer RFP responses out there for a number of people for it. We also are talking to major OEMs about teaming with them on production and evaluating options for reintroducing production,” he added.  

While re-entering the commercial market with renewed focus, MDHI’s main business remains foreign military sales. “That is our sweet spot: producing light attack scout helicopters. And we want to maintain our dominance in that market," Brodeur said. "But we are making a huge effort from a marketing and business development perspective to delve back into the commercial market.” 

In addition to Brodeur, the new management team consists of Mario Coracides, v-p of supply chain; Barry Sullivan, CFO; and Duncan Koerbel, v-p of program management. Coracides joined the company from Vectrus and previously held positions at Dresser-Rand, Finmeccanica, Honeywell, United Technologies, and General Electric. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Sullivan worked in public accounting firms PricewaterhouseCoopers; Bold Beranek and Newman; Stavisky, Shapiro & Whyte; and his own Sullivan & Drooks, which was acquired by American Express Tax and Business Services. Koerbel was formerly chief technology officer at Suzlon Wind Energy and held v-p and general management roles at Fairchild Dornier, Lockheed Martin, and Bombardier Aerospace. He also was president of Adam Aircraft.

Other members of the new MDHI team include Cheryl Bazzell, v-p of human resources; Nick Nenadovic, v-p of aftermarket and customer support; Chris Jaran, COO; Ramon Moro, v-p of engineering; James Rodriguez, v-p of operations; and Jeff Adamcik, deputy general counsel and secretary.