Airport Business

OCT 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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30 airportbusiness October 2018 Brett W. Fay, C.M Brett Fay’s leadership and experience managing large events were on full display when he and his team worked to bring in an AOPA Regional Fly-In to the Peter O. Knight Airport in 2017. The event brought in more than 5,500 aviation enthusiasts, 1,000 operations; 420 aircraft; and 57 exhibitors to the Tampa Bay area and generated more than $700,000 in economic impact to the local economy. The event allowed the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority to showcase its system of general aviation system to the largest aviation association in the world. AOPA CEO Mark Baker said he had never seen better event preparation or a team more invested in its success. Fay regularly devotes his time as an industry expert to work with the Transportation Research Board on airport cooperative research projects. In the last two years, he helped develop industry guidance and best practices for conducting tabletop and full-scale emergency exercises as well as a guidebook for airport operator options for delivery of FBO services. Additionally, he recently served as the chair of the General Aviation Planning Committee for the 2017 College Football National Championship, which was hosted in Tampa. “The most enjoyable part of my job is having the opportunity to make a difference in our community through the promotion of aviation events,” said Fay. “Seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces after their first Young Eagles flight, it truly doesn’t get better than that.” Fay has great memories of spending time with his father at airshows. “I was also inspired by my grandmother, who earned her pilot’s license in the 1940s,” he said. “However, the driving force has always been the constant love and support from my mom and most importantly, my wife Courtney and two daughters, Hailey and Adelyn.” There is a great sense of community that is unique to the aviation industry, said Fay. “I would like to see a concerted effort to get more young people engaged in aviation and create more opportunities to share our airports with the community,” he said. Continued online at Brian J. Payne Brian Payne, a native of Rockport, Indiana, has worked his way around the Hoosier state in pursuit of his aviation career. He spent two summers interning at the Evansville Regional Airport and one summer as intern for the INDOT Office of Aviation before earning his B.S. in aerospace administration from Indiana State University in 2003. He finished his M.S. in aerospace administration at Southeastern Oklahoma State University a year later. Payne then became airport manager at Michigan City Municipal Airport, where he created the first airport emergency plan, organized seminars for emergency responders, prepared for a runway extension and designed and funded a new terminal building. He managed Michigan City for four years, which culminated in receiving the Aviation Association of Indiana’s Airport of the Year award in 2007. For Payne, development and master planning are the two things he’s most excited about in his current position as the airport director of Columbus Municipal Airport. “I have 2,700 acres that are home to more than 60 non-aviation businesses, including higher education institutions, student housing, medical complexes and technology businesses,” he said. “It’s the concept of an aerotropolis, but it isn’t branded as that.” Payne is passionate about internships, having hired 39 of them in his career. “My internships in school helped mould me into the manager that I am today. When I was at Evansville Regional Airport, I could sit with our director and pick his brain,” he said. “My director always said he wasn’t the smartest guy and he didn’t always know the answers, but he always knew who to call. It’s all about good connections.” In Payne’s view of the future of aviation, it’s all about growing the pilot population. “Locally, we’re trying to figure out how to work with the state and our local community college to get scholarships under workforce readiness programs,” he said. “We want to get more youth interested in flying and show them that becoming a pilot is a goal they can attain. It’s a great job, and this is a way we can help curb the pilot shortage.” Continued online at

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