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  • October 17, 2022 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    Each year, the Wisconsin Airport Management Association recognizes individuals who have made an impact on aviation in the state!


    Airport Engineer Award:

    Ryan Falch, SEH

    Ryan, now a senior engineer with SEH, has assisted many airports in part 139 inspections, Capital Improvement and Master Planning, and runway reconstruction. For four years while a member of the MSA’s Aviation division, he designed, engineered, and managed several large-scale projects at Alexander Field (KISW) in Wisconsin Rapids. What sets Ryan apart is his dedication to familiarizing himself with the airfield, community, and stakeholders. 



    Distinguished Service Award:

    Michael Stephens, Dane County Regional Airport

    Michael currently serves as the Director of Operations and Public Safety for the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison. He has been an invaluable resource and friend to Wisconsin airports in many professional capacities, including as a former FAA Certification Safety Inspector for the Great Lakes Region. Michael is always willing to assist when called upon by his fellow airport operators, and his vast knowledge and extensive connections will be greatly missed when he retires.



    Lifetime Service Award:

    Randy Van Natta, Becher Hoppe

    Randy served as president and CEO of Becher Hoppe Associates, an engineering consulting firm in Wausau, Wisconsin, from 2004 through 2021. While president, he continued to actively consult on airport improvement projects and provide quality assurance reviews. His passion for aviation kept him involved in airport consulting. Randy and Becher Hoppe are long-time supporters of the Wisconsin Airport Management Association and the Wisconsin Aviation Conference. Since the beginning of 2022, Randy has served as a senior consultant at Becher Hoppe.



    Blue Light Award:

    Frank Pipia, Jr., TSA

    Frank is the TSA stakeholder manager for Wisconsin. In this role, he wears many hats, all of them well. Frank handles strategic communications and public affairs, graphic design, and public and media relations. He works closely with Wisconsin’s congressional delegation and often invites delegation members to tour Wisconsin airports while Congress is in recess. Frank also coordinates and promotes TSA Pre-Check enrollment events. During COVID, Frank was a steadying presence, relaying to the public the positive things airports implemented to keep the traveling public safe.



    Person of the Year Award:

    Josh Holbrook, WBOA

    Josh is a project manager with the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics. Project managers typically are only assigned one commercial service airport. Still, Josh has juggled Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU) and Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) on multiple occasions, including the last year. Both airports have an extensive capital improvement program and have added additional projects with CARES and AIG funding. Josh always supports airports aggressively pursuing funding opportunities and never says no when asked to help with another project. Even when stretched thin due to staffing shortages and additional federal grant programs, Josh delivers for his airports.



    Congratulations to all!

  • July 17, 2022 12:40 PM | Anonymous
  • May 17, 2022 1:47 PM | Anonymous
  • January 11, 2022 5:04 AM | Anonymous
  • November 29, 2021 11:27 AM | Charity Zich (Administrator)

    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!


  • September 08, 2021 4:14 PM | Anonymous
  • July 15, 2021 12:52 PM | Anonymous
  • March 22, 2021 12:51 PM | Anonymous
  • September 29, 2020 1:19 PM | Charity Zich (Administrator)
  • July 16, 2020 2:02 PM | Charity Zich (Administrator)

    WAMA continues to follow state legislation regarding the use of Class B firefighting foams that are federally mandated for use by FAA Part 139 Certificated Airports. Comments were recently submitted by the WAMA Board to the Department of Natural Resources regarding WI airports concerns with the Draft Emergency Rule WA-06-20E.


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