Jump to content

Notice: Effective July 1, 2024, Vertical Forums will be officially shut down. As a result, all forum activity will be permanently removed. We understand that this news may come as a disappointment, but we would like to thank everyone for being a part of our community for so many years.

If you are interested in taking over this Forum, please contact us prior to July 1.

Sunwest Buys 61....

Guest Angry Egg Driver

Recommended Posts

Guest Angry Egg Driver

I just heard from a friend that Sunwest out of Qualicum bought Coulsons 61 short.Anyone know the details.


Also heard that Coulsons bought the Martin Mars water bombers last week...


Ahh....as the world turns

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AED you're right about the mars going to coulson.




Spirits soar with Martin Mars buy


PORT ALBERNI -- On the Thursday, it didn't look as though Coulson Group of Companies, headed by Port Alberni-born Wayne Coulson, would get the two Martin Mars waterbombers.


Negotiations were not going well.


But on Friday, April 13, TimberWest finally agreed to sell the mammoth firefighting aircraft to Coulson, setting off a wave of jubilation up and down Vancouver Island.


Residents have strong emotional ties to the waterbombers, and no one wanted to see them leave.


Certainly not Wayne Coulson, 47, who had tried to buy them twice previously, to no avail. After his third attempt met with success, Coulson was floored by the response -- "Hundreds of e-mails and phone calls and mayors phoning to say, 'That's great!' "


One local family even sent flowers to the Coulson head office on Helen Street in Port Alberni.


The massive reaction surprised Coulson. "In the scheme of things we do, it's not that huge, right? But there is a whack of emotion, and I guess at one time during 47 years, everyone has seen them fly overhead and they've been absolutely awestruck."


Coulson said he was aware acquiring the waterbombers would be a big responsibility. While some people doubt the entrepreneur can operate them cost-effectively, Coulson believes it's possible. After all, his fleet of Sikorsky S-61 helicopters is paying off in heli-logging and firefighting operations. Why wouldn't the water bombers be profitable as well?


He's not concerned the waterbombers will bankrupt the business, which employs more than 400 workers. "We're well enough diversified as a company to ensure that we don't ever take risks like that. Our egos are not that big."


Besides Canada, Coulson firefighting aircraft operate in Australia and southern California.


Each of Coulson's companies -- including sawmilling, heli-logging, helicopter servicing and firefighting operations and a new gaming enterprise -- is strong enough to survive on its own, said Susan Merivirta, Coulson's chief financial officer and a Coulson employee for 14 years.


"We've never believed in a subsidization strategy," she said.


The corporate structure allowed Coulson to weather the softwood crisis, said Coulson. "You can't manage what you can't measure, so we measure everything. Every company runs on its own legs and every company generates its own opportunities and capital."


Business comes naturally to Coulson, who took over the job of CEO from his father Cliff at age 24.


He jokes that he attended the "university of Coulson."


"I have two older brothers and an older sister. They moved on and I was the last one, the last hope."


After high school, Coulson headed into the woods as a logger. A few years later, his father suffered a heart attack


and Coulson came into the office to


sign the cheques: "And that's how it started."


Father and son worked together "and we had just the best time, over the years, him and I."


Cliff Coulson passed away in November 2006 at age 87, but the business continues to thrive as a family operation, with Wayne's wife, Suzan, and their two grown sons, Britton and Foster, working in different parts of the business.


Suzan oversees the gaming end of the Coulson operation, where a $7.5-million, 28,000-square-foot gaming centre is under construction and due to open in late summer on the edge of town.


How Coulson got involved in gaming has a lot to do with the family's loyalty to the people of Port Alberni.


The Alberni Valley Gaming Association, representing 58 charities, runs a bingo hall on 3rd Avenue. The association wanted to acquire one of Coulson's buildings on a 10-year lease.


Once the designs were done, the charities realized they were into major debt, with consultants estimating costs of $10 million. The consultants themselves got $500,000 before Coulson got wind of what was going on.


Coulson and Merivirta looked at the charities' business plan and requested a meeting with the consultants.


"I said, 'You screwed these people who can't defend themselves. It must feel good, eh?'" said Coulson.


He gave the consultants the option of resolving the matter quietly or seeing the story in the media.


The consultants decided to modify the designs to suit the charities' restricted budget. Now Coulson has signed a 10-year agreement with the charities to run the gaming centre. They'll share revenue and Coulson will run the business end of things.


In fact, Coulson's company will move its head office up the street to the gaming centre. A dentist has bought the building they're now in.


"Now we've developed a really good rapport with everybody and I think we're going to have a really good project for Alberni," Coulson said.


It's not the first time Coulson has used his business acumen to smooth ruffled feathers and make a buck. The company has partnered with area First Nations to buy tree-farm licence 54 in Clayoquot Sound. The harvested logs will be processed through the Coulson sawmill, "which has the toughest certification on the planet," said Coulson.


"It's a huge change and the whole era of confrontation in Clayoquot is over."


Merivirta calls Coulson "a born entrepreneur."


"He's a total conceptualizer. He can see the bigger picture."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...