May 4, 2023
COPA Welcomes Mark van Berkel as New President and CEO
Announcement from the COPA Board of Directors, text provided by Doug Ronan, COPA Chair and Southern Ontario Director :
The members of the Board of Directors of COPA are thrilled to announce that Mark van Berkel has agreed to join COPA as our new President and CEO.
Mark brings with him a wealth of aviation, business and management experience that will be instrumental as he leads COPA in our mission “To promote, advance and inspire general aviation, and to preserve the Canadian freedom to fly.”
Originally from Calgary, Mark is now a resident of Ottawa. An active COPA member for 20 years, Mark earned his PPL shortly after college and he remains an active pilot with a current IFR rating and has owned and operated five aircraft in those 20 years of COPA membership. Mark started his life-long aviation career as an avionics AME in Vancouver, moved to Ottawa where he worked for Transport Canada Aircraft Services and became the Chief Avionics Specialist. Thereafter, he transitioned into the private sector, ultimately founding and building a highly successful avionics manufacturing business, TrueNorth Avionics, which specialized in designing and manufacturing communications and data connectivity for business jets. After growing the business to more than 50 employees in just ten years, Mark sold TrueNorth to Satcom Direct where they have continued to build on the success that TrueNorth had established.
During his professional career, Mark has had significant experience advocating before, and positively interfacing with, government stakeholders including Transport Canada and Nav Canada. Mark is an incisive and thoughtful person with a proven track record of capably leading a team and an organization to success. He is passionate about general aviation and is enthusiastic about applying his experience and skills to advancing COPA’s Mission and Vision.
The Board recently concluded an extensive and successful strategic planning process. Equipped with clear Strategic Priorities and Objectives, Mark is strongly positioned to flesh out the Strategic Plan with defined tactics and deliverables, and to lead his team and our members as we all, together, advance COPA’s Mission and Vision.
The Board once again wishes to express its gratitude to Jim Ferrier who graciously and capably assumed responsibility for leading COPA on a temporary basis, thereby affording us the benefit of time to recruit a stellar candidate for the position on a permanent basis. Jim will return to his former role in Aviation Operations.
Mark will officially start in his new role on May 15, 2023, and plans to attend COPA’s Annual General Meeting at Rockcliffe Airport in Ottawa on June 11 where he looks forward to starting to get to know our members. We encourage you to warmly welcome Mark onboard as, together, we inspire passion for flying and preserve our freedom to take to the skies.