You’ve probably seen footage of a helicopter winching someone to safety from a cliff face or other inaccessible area.

Well, there’s every chance the helicopter was fitted out for the role by Sunshine Coast’s HeliMods.

The Caloundra-based company specialises in fitting out aircraft for specialist roles including medical rescue, aerial policing and firefighting.

They’re known across Australia and now around the world, with a recent export award to prove it.

Helicopters arrive at HeliMods’ world-class facility from Europe as a basic shell and are then fitted out with whatever’s needed for their specialist role such as custom-designed floors, ceilings, oxygen, avionics systems and stretchers.

This process can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on the role and how much customisation is needed.

But, as HeliMods’ Head of Strategic Engagement and Special Projects Sandra Arico points out, this Queensland company has the world-class skills required for even the most complex jobs.

‘We have an incredible team of young and dynamic people here at HeliMods with different technical, commercial and design-based disciplines,’ Ms Arico said.

‘And together they’ve been able to solve some of the most complex industry problems through innovation and having access to the latest technology.

‘Our founder and Managing Director Will Shrapnel has always been forward-thinking, and understood very early on how digital technologies could be used to scale the business and have a unique impact in the market.

‘It’s that mindset, and those early investments in people and technology, that have paved the way for us to succeed in the market the way we do today.’

Mr Shrapnel started HeliMods as a sole operator in 2002.

The company now employs around 40 people, and exports its technology and services to organisations in North America, Europe, Asia and even Antarctica.

Global markets are a growing part of the HeliMods business, with export earnings now making up close to 50% of its revenue.

Mr Shrapnel said the company was proud to win the Regional Exporter category at the export awards.

‘The Shrapnel family has a connection to the Sunshine Coast dating back over 100 years, which made winning Regional Exporter of the Year at the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards particularly special for the company,’ he said.

‘My grandfather, Geoff Shrapnel, was one of the first in the region to receive a national export award back in the 60s through his work with local business Buderim Ginger.

‘He was instrumental in turning the business around through exporting and developing it into what is now a globally recognised brand.

‘So carrying on the family tradition through HeliMods and representing our region on the national and global stage is pretty special.

‘Our business is a great example of how technology can be used to access global markets from anywhere in the world.’

Mr Shrapnel encouraged other regional businesses to enter the awards.

‘I’d absolutely encourage new innovators from the regions to put themselves out there through the export awards program.

‘It’s a great opportunity to showcase their amazing achievements and to gain important recognition for the hard work and commitment that is required to compete in global markets.’

HeliMods was one of 16 winners announced at the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards Gala on 10 October in Brisbane. They will now compete along with other Queensland category winners in the Australian Export Awards in Canberra on 3 December.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

See the full gallery of photographs from the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards Gala.

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