The Texas Department of Transportation named Addison Airport Director Joel Jenkinson the 2012 Reliever Airport Manager of the Year at the 30th annual Texas Aviation Conference in Galveston, March 28-30. Honored to be recognized, Jenkinson said the award “really recognizes the entire airport team, its tenants and users, and the community that supports and sustains it.”
Only 21 airports and their managers are eligible for the award or its twin, the Reliever Airport of the Year, and DOT selects the either/or winner from annual nominations. Airports must demonstrate their contributions to the system with at least five areas where it meets or surpasses the needs of its users. Managers must demonstrate complete and substantial operational knowledge as they strive to to improve, sustain, and develop the airport, demonstrating extraordinary care and concern for its users.
Home to more than 700 aircraft, including more than 250 jets and turboprops, Addison’s single runway accommodates more aircraft on instrument flight plans than any other general aviation airport in the state. Of the 30,000 aircraft that visit Addison each year, roughly a third spend the night, contributing to the airport’s $600+ million economic impact. More than 1,400 people work at airport businesses, and airport-driven employment accounts for more than 3,000 jobs, all but a few in the private sector.
Community support is essential to the prosperity of any airport, said Jenkinson. More than self-sustaining, the airport contributes more than $1 million a year in property taxes to the town’s general fund. The mayor, city council, and Town of Addison senior staff work closely with the airport to develop and refine its strategic vision, charting its course for the next 10-20 years that will sustain and increase the airport’s value to the community and its users.
This collaborative effort runs the gamut, from land acquisition, airport safety and security, and economic development to noise abatement procedures and the annual airport celebration that attracts an estimated 250,000 people. Addison in one of the few GA airports with a dedicated aircraft rescue & firefighting vehicle on duty and maintains an Airport Emergency Plan equal to those required of airports that serve the airlines.
Joining with the area’s two commercial and 11 reliever airports, Addison was an active and enthusiastic aviation player in Super Bowl 2011, and none were better prepared, thanks to Jenkinson’s first-hand experience at New Orleans Lakefront Airport for Super Bowl 2002. Addison’s preparations included foul weather during which the airport never closed during two severe winter storms that delivered ice, snow, and four days of below-freezing temps.
Maintaining the airport infrastructure is another major task for its director and his team. With a $11.6 million federal block grant, Addison rehabilitated and improved its runway, from pavement and drainage to signs, lighting, markings. And it won the FAA Southwest Region Airports Division 2011 Excellence in Construction Safety Award in the process. Over the years new hangars have bloomed on the airport property, and the 40,000 square-foot Million Air facility that opens its doors this year is the latest.
Jenkinson has been the Addison Airport director since October 2008. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Houston and is the third recipient of the manager’s award since the DOT introduced it in 2007. The DOT Aviation Division also recognizes the Most Improved Airport, General Aviation Airport of the Year, and General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year.