Langley-raised Inger Lisa Skroder recalls a competitor in the airline business trying to embarrass her by bringing up her 1985 win as Miss Langley.
Far from scoring points, he discovered the acutecare nurse practitioner, who set up Trinity Air Ambulance International, was unflappable.
That’s because her background trained her well for running an international air ambulance company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Now she’s looking to expand to Canada, with an eye on Langley or another airport with the amenities Trinity needs.
While Skroder was in Langley this summer to visit family, she met with various aviation folks about a possible expansion, to ensure the firm has a base in the region.
Born in the local hospital, she grew up on her parent’s mink ranch on the Langley/ Surrey border.
“We’re farm people, that ethic about hard work and saving” she explained. Skroder went to Crofton House in Vancouver for a few years but graduated from R.E. Mountain Secondary.
Then it was Trinity Western University for a year, Simon Fraser University, and Vancouver General. Her mom, Georgine, suggested working in the U.S. so she spent four years in Florida before homesickness brought her north. Skroder went to the University of Washington in Seattle and having worked on international air ambulance flights, found she liked it.
The firm was started in 1999. She’s in business with her two brothers, Tors and Lars, with help from her mom and financing it on her credit cards to the tune of about $50,000.
It was a tough start, particularly when hunting out planes to charter from other firms. She knocked on the doors of about 30 firms. “I’m glad that we had the door shut, because we just had to go and get our own planes and our own pilot,” she said.
Competitors have derisively called it a “mom and pop” operation. “No, no, we’re a bro and sis,” said Skroder. “I’m proud to have a family company.” Trinity now has almost a dozen staff in its call centre who co-ordinate calls from the U.S., Caribbean and South America.