Safety Profiles

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Bissell, Inc.
50-Year Safe Flying Achievement Award Recipient

A Clean Safety Record Built on Trust in a Family Atmosphere

Jan. 24, 2013

Employing tools that help sustain a business and contribute to its growth is a tradition at Bissell that began with the founders, Melville and Anna Bissell, who owned a crockery shop in Michigan. Cleaning up the sawdust that protected the products they received from suppliers was a time-consuming task, so Melville invented and patented a carpet sweeper that changed the company’s direction. When he passed away in 1889, Anna stepped up as CEO, the first female to hold this position in America.

Still family owned, succeeding generations built the company that today offers a full range of tools that sweep, vacuum, scrub and deep clean floors and carpets. In 1956, the year the company introduced a carpet shampooer that rendered hands-and-knees scrubbing obsolete, Melvin R. Bissell started the flight department with a Cessna 172 that he himself flew, said Clint Fereday, the company’s director of aviation.

Today the company flies a Challenger 300 and Lear 45 with a staff of seven and three contract pilots. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, most of their flights are regional, 500-mile flights that support the Homecare Division, said Fereday, explaining that the division is responsible for Bissell’s floorcare products, vacuum cleaners, carpet deep cleaners, hard surface cleaning and the associated chemicals.

From the start, safety has been an unassailable priority. “We strive to be best in class in all we do,” said Fereday, adding that the company has earned its IS-BAO Stage II certification.

Given the benefits of the atmosphere of a family within a family, when contemplating new members of the aviation staff, “hire the personality, not the type rating, and insist on engagement and personal accountability,” said Fereday. “We have a contract of trust between us, and as a result, the principals are well taken care of and accept the occasional adjustments or cancelations because of the challenging Great Lakes weather.”

Photo Caption: Outside the Bissell’s flight department facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are, from left, Pilot Mike Salliotte, Pilot Roger Odell, Chief Pilot Tom Sanders, Director of Aviation Clint Fereday, Mechanic Jason Ensink, and Chief of Maintenance Steve Gehres.

About NBAA's Flying Safety Awards

Spectra Energy Corporation received the NBAA 60-Year Safe Flying Achievement Award in 2013 and is just one of many NBAA Member Companies participating in NBAA's Flying Safety Awards program. For 60 years, NBAA’s Flying Safety Award program has brought worldwide attention to the business aircraft safety record. Your company's outstanding safety record can be recognized, too. NBAA is now accepting applications for the 2014 Flying Safety Awards. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2014. Apply today!