How did you get involved with your line of business?
My dream was to be a fighter pilot but, as they do, plans changed when I went to college. I attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio and decided to major in aviation management. As I began my core class work, I was provided an opportunity to intern at Toledo Express Airport during my last two years of college, and I realized very quickly that this profession was my calling.
What do you like best about your line of work?
I love that no two days are ever the same. In this industry, I have to be prepared to wear a lot of different hats and be ready to face new challenges on a daily basis. It’s exciting to get the wins, such as increased air service, new destinations, larger aircraft, etc. Obtaining these particular opportunities brings about a great deal of effort from staff. We strive to maintain great working relationships with all of our stakeholders and tenants.
What are your goals for this year?
Our goals for 2020 are to continue the substantial growth that we’ve seen for the past several years as it relates to air service. This past year was the most growth Columbia Metropolitan Airport has seen in more than a decade. The one primary goal is to attract an Ultra-Low Cost Carrier, which would drive competition and lower airline fares across the board. We are also very focused on economic development opportunities that will create more jobs in and around CAE’s campus. This year we will also be rolling out our new marketing and rebranding efforts to further amplify our growth and forward momentum throughout 2020.
How has the Columbia community benefited from your business?
CAE provides a direct economic impact of approximately $540 million on an annual basis. We provide more than 1,800 full-time jobs and more than $80 million in labor income, and 95 percent of the economic impact generated by CAE occurs within the Columbia Metropolitan region — adding almost 4,000 jobs, approximately $170 million in labor income, and $832 million in total economic output. It is clear that CAE is a massive economic driver to the Midlands region and is an invaluable asset to the economic growth and sustainability of Columbia and the surrounding areas.