Airport Business

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

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INDUSTRY INSIDER December 2017/January 2018 airportbusiness 19 Four Decades of Success in Aviation Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport Director Bern E. Case visualized positive change throughout his career to drive success wherever he worked. After high school, Case attended junior col- lege and became a police officer in the Army. "But I got burned out on people. I was a com- manding officer and I had to deal with alcohol and spouse abuse and other things that hap- pened under military command," he said. "So I got out of the Army, went to back to college and got a degree in mortuary science." Case continued his education and was working on his thesis, on how to save money on funerals. "Eventually, it got published as a book and when that happened, I got fired and was blackballed [by the industry]," he recalled. "By then, I had three kids, my wife and a mort- gage. I learned that Salt Lake City International Airport was hiring operations officers, a cross between safety and police." He got the job, where he started by writing parking tickets and inspecting the airport. "That turned into several promotions and I eventually became manager of operations covering police, fire and safety," said Case. "I needed a job and the police experience helped me get in. But I caught the aviation virus and one you get infect- ed, it's hard to think of anything else." After leaving Salt Lake City in 1986, Case went to Saginaw, Michigan, to become the air- port director at MBS International. "I worked hard to get my accreditation with AAAE and felt I was ready to run an airport, so I put out some applications," he said. Of his biggest accomplishment at MBS, Case felt he opened up the vision of what the airport could be. "We had record numbers of passen- gers because I worked to convince them not to drive to Detroit Metro Airport," he recalled. "I replaced a guy who retired. He was a nice guy, but he visualized MBS International as a nice little county airport. I saw it as a booming eco- nomic engine for the community, which made a big difference and helped the airport grow." In 1990, Case became director of aviation at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Texas. "My biggest accomplishment at Lubbock was making it a little bit more entre- preneurial. An example would be that they did almost nothing in advertising when I got there," he said. "We took over advertising in the ter- minal. I demonstrated to them how to operate the airport more like a business, and less like a governmental entity." But Case grew tired of hot Texas summers and wanted to run a smaller airport. "I found that I like running airports that were just a touch smaller, so in 1994, I went from Lubbock to Medford," he said. "Here I have less than 50 employees and a few contracted employees, so I know everybody." Case listed his accomplishments during his 24 years at Medford, including building a new terminal, runway extension and tower, chang- ing the airport's name, winning designation as a Foreign Trade Zone and constructing a new snow removal equipment and operations facil- ity. He also consistently set record passenger numbers, grew from two to nine destinations via five airlines and spent nearly $105 million in grant funds. As part of the new terminal construction, the airport had some extra space, said Case. "We decided to convert the space into a replica of the White House's Oval Office. We use it for spe- cial events and community activities," he said. "We've even had film and television produc- tions companies using it because that space gets overbooked in Hollywood." Read more: www.AviationPros.com/ 12360429 I t's been an interesting journey for Bern E. Case, who retires as airport director of Oregon's Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport on Jan. 18, after 40 years in the business. By Benét Wilson Case said Rogue Valley Airport was innovative for opening its first restaurant with access on both sides of security. Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport Bern Case

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