After 27 years as Alabama’s Aeronautics Director and Chief of the Aeronautics Bureau, Dr. John Eagerton has announced his retirement effective January 1, 2021. In an official letter to airport operators, consultants and colleagues, Eagerton said, “It has been a privilege to work with you to improve Alabama’s airport system. I am also proud to have represented Alabama at the national level as an active member of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO).”
U.S. Senator, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), recognized Dr. Eagerton’s retirement by stating that he is a longtime champion of aviation and aerospace both in Alabama and on the national level. “Over the years, he has been a partner in shaping aviation-forward policy and advancing economic development throughout our state. I congratulate him on his retirement after serving nearly five decades in influential capacities, most recently as the head of the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Bureau.” Senator Shelby noted that Dr. Eagerton’s service to Alabama and the larger aviation community has been unwavering. “We are indebted to him for his work and its resulting impact.”
Working together, Eagerton said they have accomplished many projects that substantially improved the safety and accessibility of airports throughout the state. “Airports have become an integral part of the state’s transportation system and the economic growth of our rural and urban communities during the past twenty-seven years,” noted Eagerton. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with you. As a pilot for nearly 50 years, it has been extremely rewarding to serve the aviation community too.”
Frank Farmer, current Aeronautics Manager, will become the Chief of the Aeronautics Bureau upon Dr. Eagerton’s retirement. “Frank and I have worked side by side for nearly 25 years and I am pleased he will be stepping into this position,” said Eagerton. “His appointment as the Aeronautics Chief will assure a seamless transition that will preserve and build upon the relationship the bureau has forged with you during the past 27 years.”
Farmer said it has been a great privilege to work for Dr. Eagerton all those years, noting that Eagerton’s passion and dedication for aviation is evident by everyone who knows him. “I will always have the highest respect for him and appreciate all he has done for me and the Alabama airport system,” said Farmer. “It is an honor for me to be appointed as his successor, and I look forward to continuing the progress we have made with Alabama’s airport system and serving the aviation industry in this capacity.” Farmer said the industry is facing many challenges during this unprecedented time and we must all work harder than ever to navigate the difficulties we are facing.
In closing, Eagerton wrote that the relationships he has established over the years have been the most gratifying part of serving in this position. “I will miss that,” concluded Eagerton. “From an early age I learned to always leave the woodpile a little higher than I found it. With all of us working together, I’ve been able to do that.”