Aurora-Based Columbia Helicopters Names New President/CEO

Aurora-based Columbia Helicopters announced this week that Executive Vice President Michael Tremlett has been named the company’s new president and CEO, effective January 1, 2023, to replace current President/CEO Steve Bandy, who is retiring at the end of the year.

The company says Bandy will remain on the Columbia Board of Directors as vice chairman.

Since 2019, Columbia has been a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services and specialty industrial markets.

“It is an extreme honor to take the helm of this incredible company and lead it into the next chapter,” Tremlett said in a press release. “I am looking forward to working with our entire team to propel Columbia Helicopters toward our 2023 goals and secure new opportunities while we continue to grow our services with our current customers.”

Tremlett has more than 26 years of military and civilian aviation experience, serving close to 20 of those years as a strategic business development leader in aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and depot sustainment organizations.

Tremlett joined Columbia as vice president of business development in December 2021 and was promoted to executive vice president in July. He has served in the U.S. Army as an AH-64 Apache aviator, and commander, and later as a commercial MRO maintenance test pilot.

Tremlett holds a master’s in business administration from Regis University and a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Alabama.

“Mike is an outstanding leader and I believe he is the right person to elevate Columbia to new heights,” said Bandy. “After a very fulfilling 34-year career, the time has come for me to retire.

“From my beginnings here as a copilot to my time as president/CEO, the adventures, challenges, and people of Columbia have been a dream come true.”

Bandy joined Columbia Helicopters in 1989 as a copilot and built his career at the company through a variety of increasingly senior leadership roles. He was promoted to vice president of operations in 2012, senior vice president of operations in 2016, and to president/CEO in June 2017.

“Steve has provided tremendous leadership these past five years through some difficult global challenges, and we are extremely grateful for his work,” said Columbia Helicopters Board Chair Bill Boisture.

“Through Steve’s leadership, Columbia Helicopters was positioned to quickly pivot and grow its services despite a constantly shifting economic climate.”

Boisture said the board is proud to support Tremlett and remains “strongly committed” to the continued growth of Columbia’s three businesses: global aerial operations; maintenance, repair and overhaul; and aircraft production as an original equipment manufacturer.

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