Sky’s no limit for Bristow’s Mandy Nelson

Mandy Nelson and others looking at aviation equipment

eVTOL Insights, one of the leading news sources for the global Advanced Air Mobility market, just published its 2024 Powerbook, the publication’s flagship Special Report. It highlights the achievements of some of the industry’s thought leaders, influencers and innovators.

For the first time, Bristow is proudly represented on this prestigious list.

Mandy Nelson, Director of Strategic Relationships, Advanced Air Mobility, was named among 20 other elite industry players.

“Each individual featured has enjoyed an incredible 12 months and played a critical role in helping their company reach new heights,” said Jason Pritchard, Executive Editor of eVTOL Insights. “From forging new partnerships, launching commercial operations, to preparing huge manufacturing facilities and heading up proposed business mergers, the 2024 recipients are all worthy additions.”

“I was very surprised to be named, it's definitely an honor,” Mandy said. “To be recognized among some of the industry’s most wonderfully disruptive individuals, who are making incredible things happen in the world of AAM, is really great. Many of these leaders are people whose work I follow closely and admire."

“What might be coolest for me is that I don’t know where the nomination came from, so it’s likely someone from outside of Bristow, within the industry, submitted my name.”

For Mandy, a commercially rated, fixed-wing pilot, the accolade is another step in her ongoing Bristow journey that first began in 2010 (then Era) in Alaska, where she worked in various commercial and managerial functions.

Her initial experience working with AAM came as Director of Government Affairs focusing on AAM advocacy at both the State and Federal levels. This led to her current duties supporting Bristow’s global AAM efforts through the development of strategic relationships with AAM partners, OEMs, and other key global stakeholders.

But the journey to Bristow and the world of AAM was not a destination Mandy ever planned, nor one that took a traditional route. She grew up in Salt Lake City and graduated college with a degree in music.

“After college, I was fully dedicated to the wanderlust path. That desire for travel took me to Alaska because I really wanted to visit Denali, see the glaciers and just explore,” she said. “I happened to get a seasonal job on a gravel airstrip, driving tourists from their hotel to the airstrip to take flightseeing tours of Denali Park. It was there I quickly got interested in aviation, started learning how to fly and just caught the bug of the Alaskan aviation culture.”

Mandy speaking at the 2022 Revolution Aero Conference in San FranciscoMandy speaking at the 2022 Revolution Aero Conference in San Francisco

Mandy said her first job with Era was in Denali Park buckling-up passengers in their seatbelts and giving them a safety briefing prior to takeoff. “I've moved around a lot in the organization, starting in tours, working in the supply-room, as a base manager, FBO manager, and in global accounts working with our oil and gas customers. In 2020 I was fortunate to join the newly formed Government Affairs team and then transitioned to full-time Advanced Air Mobility in 2021.

“I've been lucky. It’s been such a surprising and interesting path to touch and see so many sides of the business and then to have landed in this segment of it. All of my travels, flight training, operations and global account experiences, along with my time on the advocacy side, have really influenced the way I approach AAM and our partnerships today.”

Mandy says her current role is largely about developing relationships throughout the AAM ecosystem. She works closely with Bristow’s strategic OEM partners, but also regularly engages with entities such as the Texas Department of Transportation’s AAM Advisory Committee47G in her home state of Utah, industry associations like HAI, and public officials, discussing emerging aviation technologies and giving an operator's perspective.

“We collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders that will build or help build the ecosystem that we need to safely and successfully commercialize,” Mandy said. “These are important connections with many ways to approach them.”

Mandy believes it’s an exciting time to be a part of aviation. For Bristow specifically, she says the technology has evolved to a point where the Company is uniquely positioned within the broader aviation industry to capitalize on the tremendous AAM opportunity.

“AAM will complement our legacy operations and expand them, grow new networks without foregoing old networks, and ultimately bring in new opportunities and new markets while we continue our legacy of operational excellence in the traditional vertical business.

“I think it really bodes well for the sustainability of the business in the long term. And that's exciting.”

Mandy Nelson and young girl in front of aircraft