K. Barry Marsden, O.C., O.B.C (1939 – 2021)

K. Barry Marsden, O.C., O.B.C (1939 – 2021)

Chairman & CEO of Conair Aerial Firefighting

Barry dedicated his life to protecting the world from wildfires, putting first and foremost the safety of the Conair team and partner firefighters.

A true visionary, Barry was a founding member of Conair in 1969, growing the company to over 350 employees and a fleet of 70 aircraft, the largest fixed-wing, privately owned aerial firefighting company in the world. Under his guidance, Conair expanded beyond the borders of British Columbia, Canada, offering aerial firefighting services globally, with operations in France, Australia and the USA. During the company’s 52-year history, Barry led the Conair group in developing hundreds of Supplemental Type Certificates, converting over 15 aircraft types into aerial firefighters and modifying over 175 individual aircraft. The most recent Next Generation aerial firefighter added to his legacy is the Dash 8-400 airtanker, the most modern airtanker in the world today.

Barry was an accomplished pilot and aerial firefighter, accumulating over 10,000 hours of flight time; a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer; a recipient of the Medaille De L’Aeronautique from France; Master Air Pilot from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, an inducted member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame; and the recipient of the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada, in recognition of his contributions to the growth of Canada’s aviation industry.

Barry was an exceptional executive, passionate aviator, and inspiring leader. He loved every aspect of aerial firefighting and was devoted to the well-being of the Conair team, government agency customers, and fellow firefighters.


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