Each year, the Wisconsin Airport Management Association recognizes individuals who have made an impact on aviation in the State!
Airport Engineer Award
Kevin Kunde, Mead & Hunt
For over 40 years, Kevin Kunde has made significant professional contributions to airport engineering in Wisconsin and across the nation, including developing expertise in Airport Traffic Control Towers (ATCT), snow removal equipment facilities, hangars, operations centers, fueling stations, electrical vaults, and various specialty structures associated with airports. He is known for his ability to successfully execute complex, high-profile projects with award-winning and innovative solutions.
Distinguished Service Award
Mike Paffel, Cumberland Airport Commission
Mike has been a member of the Cumberland Airport Commission for 30 years, serving as Chairman for the last 25. Over the past 30 years, he has overseen the airport development from four hangars to 20, plus two very successful private businesses at the Cumberland Municipal Airport. Mike is an expert on Federal and State airport programs leading to new runways, a new fuel delivery system, ATIS weather reporting, new arrival and departure building, and construction of a new hangar development area for future expansion. He holds a Private Pilot license and has been an aircraft owner.
Lifetime Service Award
David Jensen, Dane County Regional Airport
Dave served in the Wisconsin Air National Guard for more than 23 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He joined Dane County Regional Airport as an Airport Operations Supervisor in 1991 and served in various roles with WAMA, including serving as WAMA President in 1999-2002. That was a busy time for the organization as WAMA worked closely with muliple lobbyists and state elected officials. Dave spent many hours testifying before numerous committees representing the best interest of Wisconsin airports. Additionally, he helped hire WAMA’s first executive director. He served on the WAMA board until retiring from Dane County as Deputy Airport Director in 2020.
Person of the Year Award
Charity Zich, C.M., Chippewa Valley Regional Airport
Charity has been the Airport Director at Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU) for 15 years. During that time, she has held a variety of leadership roles within WAMA, including past President. Furthermore, she is excited to host next year’s 66th Wisconsin Aviation Conference in Eau Claire. In the two and a half years since our last conference, Charity has been a stalwart supporter of aviation in the state. She has maintained and improved the WAMA’s website, ensured timely and accurate communication, led WAMA executive director recruitment, was a proponent of increased aviation funding in the state, planned airshows, and ensured the financial and operational sustainability of EAU through a global pandemic.
In addition, Brian Grefe, C.M., Central Wisconsin Airport Director, received the President’s Award for his leadership with WAMA since 2019. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport was recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture Milwaukee office for the airport’s outstanding commitment, support and leadership as a partner with the Wisconsin Wildlife Services Program. And several Fly Wisconsin participants flew in to be applauded for completing a tour of all Wisconsin’s airports.
Congratulations to all!