For the second year in a row, Ardmore Airpark general manager Chris Bryant has been tabbed to serve as the president of the Oklahoma Airport Operators Association.
Bryant was selected to a second term during the 28th annual OAOA convention at the Ardmore Convention Center. Airport managers across the state joined together to discuss the latest regulations and other items of interest with officials from the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.
“The convention is designed to inform airport managers from around the state,” Bryant said.
The convention has become increasingly important in recent years with the growth of the aeronautics industry, which is evident locally with the growth plans at the airpark. And Ardmore is not the only community enjoying investment and growth.
“If you thought 20 years ago that Guymon was going to have everyday jet operations by a company named Seaboard Farms, you would’ve been fooling yourself,” said Victor Bird, OAC director. “They didn’t foresee that, but that’s what happened.”
Topics discussed included Gov. Mary Fallin’s newly signed extension to the Aerospace Industry’s Engineer Tax Credit, which gives many engineers in the aerospace industry up to a $5,000 tax credit plus various tax credits for their employers; the latest in airport runway and taxiway lighting; and many of the grants Oklahoma will use to improve the safety and reliability of the runways and taxiways, as well as a discussion about keeping local wildlife off of runways.
The convention also serves as a venue for experienced airport managers to welcome new managers into the family and provide advice as needed.
“This conference brings together Oklahoma’s greatest assets in aviation,” said Heather Sterzick, Sundance Airpark general manager. “I had no idea how helpful all these professionals could be. I learned a lot.”
The convention also marked a year of learning for Bryant, who is prepared to enter his second year as head of the OAOA.
“I was named president in a unanimous vote,” he said. “They said since I did such a good job this year, they wanted me to serve another year.”
Bryant cited funding from the FAA and recategorization of airports around the state and nation as challenges he expects to face in the coming year. But he also feels more comfortable after one year on the job.
“I learned all airports are unique and vital to the State of Oklahoma,” Bryant said. “I also learned from working very closely with the FAA and the OAC the importance of their jobs, and you will always learn something new.
“I was glad we were able to bring the convention to Ardmore. This was the first time in 28 years the convention took place in Ardmore. I took great pride in promoting the city and providing my peers the opportunity to see the growth taking place in Ardmore.”