Professional development program strengthens N.C. public airport management
By Bobby L. Walston, P.E.
Aviation Director, North Carolina Department of Transportation
Effectively developing and operating North Carolina’s 72 public airports requires more than solid organizational management skills and expertise. It also requires knowledge of the complex system of state and federal regulatory requirements, as well as best practices in aviation construction management, to ensure that public airport facilities meet the highest standards of safety, serve local communities and support a strong state air transportation system.
I recently had the honor of awarding North Carolina Airport Professional (NCAP) credentials to 15 managers of public airports who demonstrated their knowledge and expertise by completing requirements of the NCDOT Division of Aviation’s Airport Leadership and Management Program (ALMP).
Airport managers praised the program for providing valuable knowledge and information they can apply directly at their airports.
“I came into my position with little experience and few skills to run an airport aside from a passion for the airport and a huge desire to try to make it better,” said Stanly County Airport Manager Ken Swaringen, one of the 14 NCAP credential recipients. “The ALMP program has introduced me to avenues to address the business of running our airport in the correct ways through expertise from subject matter experts, a huge library of reference materials and just good old-fashioned networking peer to peer. I am a huge believer in continuous improvement, which by default means evaluating what and how you do things. ALMP is a great tool to help get that accomplished.”
Bob Heuts, airport director at Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford, agreed. “Every class offered opportunities to come back to the airport and tweak or add guidelines, safety and other improvements,” Heuts said. The safety and security course was offered at the same time Raleigh Exec began planning for its new terminal. Airport staff were able to draw on information presented in the course to build their new security system for the terminal, as well as the rest of the airport, Heuts said.
Wilmington International Airport Facilities Director Granseur Dick said the program “helped me understand the work and needs of coworkers and colleagues so that we can work together more efficiently, which benefits the airport by building a more cohesive staff and improving safety and efficiency.”
ALMP launched in 2018 as a 12-course signature program of our Division’s N.C. Airport Technical Assistance Program (NC AirTAP), which is managed by North Carolina State University. It is open to officials, managers and operations staff at the state’s publicly owned airports and covers every aspect of airport management and operations. Participants who complete required modules earn the NCAP credential.
All of us at the Division applaud and congratulate our first 15 credential holders. They are:
- Rick Barkes, Kinston Regional Jetport at Stallings Field
- Barry Blevins, Harnett Regional Jetport
- Peter Cevallos, Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport
- Dan Danieley, Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport
- David Daniels, Dare County Regional Airport
- Granseur Dick, Wilmington International Airport
- Heidi H. Fisher, Burlington-Alamance Airport Authority
- George Futrelle, Duplin County Airport
- Robert Heuts, Raleigh Executive Jetport
- Sandra Janssen, Albert J. Ellis Airport
- Gage King, Henderson Field
- Phil Lanier, Johnston Regional Airport
- Karel Van Der Linden, Davidson County Airport
- Ken E. Swaringen, Stanly County Airport
- Chris White, Albert J. Ellis Airport