Major: B.A., Public Relations Date of Graduation: May 14, 1989
Hometown: Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Current Job Title and Company:
Airport Manager, Sawyer International Airport (former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base),
County of Marquette, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Please describe the path you took from graduation to get to the job you have today:
May 1989 - May 1990 - Operations Coordinator, Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority, Grand Forks, North Dakota
May 1990 - February 1997 - Operations Supervisor, Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, Burbank, California
February 1997 - February 1999 - Assistant Airport Director, Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City, Iowa
February 1999 - June 2003 - Manager, Operations and Maintenance, Abilene Regional Airport, Abilene, Texas
July 2003 - Present - Airport Manager, Sawyer International Airport, Marquette County Michigan
What is the best part of your current job?
Knowing that you have the ability to make real and very positive changes on the overall capital development,
operation, maintenance, administration, public relations and promotion of the airport that you currently work at.
Additionally, my current position provides me the ability to turn a once very active Air Force Base, and continue
the transition to a full Part-139 Commercial Service Airport.
My favorite part of the job is many-fold, but especially:
Air service marketing and development, management of the capital program for projects for airport improvements,
and legislative work with both the State (MAAE) and at the national level with AAAE.
UND Students, who continue to mature into the Airport Management profession, will be
allowed to utilize their excellent education obtained at UND, past and current positions, and be
well armed with the skill sets and levels
of experienced needed to succeed.
How has your education from the University of North Dakota helped you in your career?
My education at UND has served me very well. However, I have learned that the University does not owe me anything - yet I as a graduate, owe a great deal to my predecessors for the development of what is routinely classified as the finest example of an aerospace education in the United States.
Students would be well served to never take that for granted.
Advise all airport management students to never
burn your bridges in a very small community like airport management.
The reputation nationally of UND students is such that employers can expect that students, armed with a
UND education, that have received an excellent base of aviation (airport / airline) knowledge, with many
UND students achieving their C.M. designation, along with participating in co-ops and internships prior to graduation.
In fact, being a graduate of UND, I believe allowed me to get an introductory interview for my positions at
airports in Burbank, CA and Sioux City, IA.
What advice would you have for students in the aviation program today?
Always be a fine ambassador and representative of your University, your family and your employers -
both past and present. As a student, NEVER put yourself in a compromising situation that may adversely affect
current or future employment. Always make good decisions.
As a freshman, work hand-in-hand with your faculty advisory, and I would recommend that all airport management
students take classes in the following:
Writing skills. It is very important for future employers to know that you are competent in basic
writing skills, for the writing of: Letters of Memorandum, General Correspondence, White Papers, Report
Writing, and others. A great deal speaks to the level of education, your University and thoroughness when
drafting correspondence to County leadership, State and Federal legislators, issuing press releases, etc
Blue Prints. Take an introductory class in how to understand construction blue-prints, As-Builts, etc.
Always be willing to go the extra mile, and continue to push yourself and your abilities toward excellence.
Continue to display a positive can-do attitude and excellent work ethic. I have no room on my staff for
anyone who is lazy, and not committed to put forth 110%.
Upon graduation, give yourself some time before achieving your C.M. (if you don't already have it),
and you're A.A.E. designation, allowing some time to become thoroughly acquainted with every division and
department within the airports organization.
Continue to pursue and complete post-graduate work, stressing disciplines such as finance, management, personnel
management and engineering.
Have a Customer-First approach, for both internal and external customers and employees, so that when you are
employed at varying levels of an airport's organization throughout your career, that you have the ability to
work with employees and tenant employees at all levels of an organization.