PUBLISHED: 4:08 PM on Wednesday, August 1, 2007
National honor awarded to owner of Juneau-based Coastal Helicopters
Juneau entrepreneur Dot Wilson was named Small Business Champion of the Year by National Federal of Independent Business.

The honor was conferred upon by the Leadership Council of NFIB Alaska. Each year NFIB singles out a small business owner in each state for special recognition and honors the individual with its Small Business Champion award. This is the fourth year the national group has recognized small business owners who go the extra mile for Main Street, mom-and-pop enterprises. Last year's winner was Dan MacLeod. In 2005 the award went to Neil MacKinnon and in 2004, to Peggy Ann McConnochie.

Wilson and her husband, Jim, own Coastal Helicopters, a Juneau-based firm with 60 employees during the peak season. Their fleet of 11 helicopters provides charter and contract work for businesses, utility companies and government agencies. Coastal Helicopters have ski contracts in the winter, providing transportation to extreme skiers in other parts of Alaska. Son Michael is a pilot in the family firm. The Wilsons also have a grown daughter.

Each year Coastal Helicopters sponsors a Lynn Wunsch Memorial Tour Day to help raise money for Cancer Connection, which flies cancer patients to medical centers throughout the nation.

For the past four years, Coastal has raised more than $8,000 each time for the organization. Dot Wilson's other civic and professional involvements include membership of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, Juneau Tourism Best Management Practices, Helicopter Association International and Helicopter Tour Operators Committee.

For NFIB Alaska, Wilson is a member of its Leadership Council, political action committee and Juneau Area Action Council.

"Dot Wilson is a tireless advocate for Alaska's small businesses," said Denny DeWitt, NFIB Alaska state director.

"Even though she's extremely busy, she always makes time to advance the small business agenda, and her expert testimony on small business issues before the Alaska Legislature can sometimes be the make or break remark on a bill."