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2023 WAMA Award Winners

October 09, 2023 12:26 PM | Anonymous

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

Airport Engineer Award:

Terry Donovan, Mead & Hunt  

Terry has been with Mead & Hunt since graduating with a Civil Engineering degree from UW-Platteville. He is the project manager for Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport, Dane County Regional Airport, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in South Carolina, and routinely assists with other airport projects. He is a tremendous asset, contributing to the success of the airports with which he works. He balances complex projects at multiple airports while ensuring projects are completed safely. Terry goes the extra mile, often working after hours to ensure projects stay on track. Additionally, he volunteers his time, serving on the Wisconsin Aviation Conference planning committee to provide a high-quality WAC event for the benefit of all airports in Wisconsin. 

Midwest Flyer Magazine Photo by Dave Weiman

Distinguished Service Award:

Charity Zich, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport

Charity has served the users of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport for 17 years as the airport director. She continually makes outstanding contributions to Wisconsin aviation through her tenure at the airport and on the WAMA Board of Directors. Charity has helped the board keep its past in sight while working on the airport challenges of today and tomorrow. Her uniquely pragmatic problem-solving approach has been most evident in her successful efforts over the years to keep commercial air service at her airport. Charity is a leader in her community and the larger aviation community in Wisconsin and beyond.

Midwest Flyer Magazine Photo by Dave Weiman

Lifetime Service Award:

Bob O'Brien

Bob worked in the aviation industry for nearly four decades – for airports and WAMA. He served in leadership roles at various airports throughout Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Georgia. The list of airports is long, including Madison, Green Bay, La Crosse, Platteville, Fort Wayne, IN; Dubuque, IA; Springfield, IL; Brainerd, MN; and Columbus, GA. In 2012, after nine years of running the Chicago Rockford International Airport, Bob was appointed the executive director of WAMA and served in that position until 2020. He also served 20 years in the U.S. military, mostly in the National Guard and Army Reserves.

Blue Light Award:

Dick Knapinski, EAA

Dick has promoted aviation for more than thirty years. He has been EAA’s director of communications since January 2010, having advanced to that position after serving as a member of EAA’s public relations/marketing staff since 1992. His responsibilities include liaising with the media representatives who report on EAA activities throughout the year. Those activities include the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh flyin, which has a yearly attendance of more than 600,000 and draws 10,000 airplanes and over 800 international media members to Oshkosh. Before joining the EAA staff, Dick worked for broadcast and print media outlets throughout Wisconsin. He continues to contribute as a writer for newspapers and magazines, and he co-authored the book EAA Oshkosh: The Best Aviation Photography. 

Midwest Flyer Magazine Photo by Dave Weiman

Person of the Year Award:

Abe Weber, Appleton International Airport

Abe, airport director at Appleton International Airport, has served on the WAMA Board of Directors since 2012 and is a past president of the organization. He has been an active leader in the organization’s advocacy, leading past efforts to pass sales tax exemptions for aviation parts and labor in Wisconsin. As a WAMA governmental affairs committee member, Abe has shepherded efforts to pass legislation to help the state’s airports deal with nuisance wildlife over the past year. He continues to look for opportunities to improve aviation for all Wisconsin airports.

Midwest Flyer Magazine Photo by Dave Weiman

Congratulations to all!

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