This year’s Tennessee Airports Conference, hosted by the Tennessee Aviation Administration, included a handful of awards presented by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC). TAC Award categories for 2017 included recognition for Special Project of the Year (General Aviation Airport), Special Project of the Year (Air Carrier Airport), Airport of the Year, Airport Manager of the Year, and the 2017 Career Contribution Award.
Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority received the 2017 TAC Award for Special Project of the Year for air carrier airports for one of the most unique projects to date: the installation of a geothermal lake plate cooling system that was officially opened in May 2016. This innovative project reduced energy consumption by forty percent in its first six months of operation, and is expected to realize energy savings in excess of $400,000 per year for the next fifty years.
McMinn County Airport in Athens, Tennessee, received the 2017 TAC Award for Special Project of the Year for general aviation airports. The recent history of sinkholes in Athens made both business and construction difficult at times, until members of the airport management, their consulting engineers at PDC Consultants, Inc., and the Tennessee Aeronautics Division collaborated to conduct a geological study to identify the origin of sinkholes in the area. Using primarily safety and maintenance funding, a project featuring drainage improvements and extensive excavation rectified the sinkhole damage done at this airport in just sixty days.
Mr. Bert Loupe of Jacksboro, Tennessee, received the 2017 TAC Award for Airport Manager of the Year. Mr. Loupe has been the manager at Campbell County Airport for more than fifty years. He is only the third person to hold that position, and has been flying since age sixteen. The growth of Campbell County Airport under Mr. Loupe’s tenure has been remarkable, growing from 3,500 feet to 4,000 feet, adding two sets of T-hangars, and most recently bringing a Med-Trans helicopter mission to the field. Mr. Loupe still brings his many years of experience and service to the aviation industry daily.
The 2017 TAC Award for Airport of the Year was presented to Tullahoma Regional Airport/William Northern Field for their outstanding work in developing capacities for economic development while continuing to support their standard flying activities. As the home to over 140 based aircraft and experiencing approximately 40,000 flight operations per year, Tullahoma has realized record fuel sales for three consecutive years. Additionally, the airport is the home for the world class Beechcraft Heritage Museum, which remains a consistent visitor attraction and hosted one of AOPA’s 2016 fly-ins.
Finally, the TAC recognized Mr. Brian Caldwell as the recipient of the 2017 Career Contribution Award. Mr. Caldwell spent his entire career working in aviation and with airports. For thirty years, until his retirement this past Christmas, Mr. Caldwell acted as the point person in the Tennessee Aeronautics Division for all airport planning projects and capital improvement programs. The current health and welfare of Tennessee airports is in large measure due to Mr. Caldwell’s consistent and measured advice and counsel.
The 2017 Tennessee Airports Conference was held on March 20-22.
For more information about the 2017 Tennessee Aeronautics Commission Awards, including a full transcript of each TAC Award speech, please visit https://www.tn.gov/tdot/article/aeronautics-news-2017-tac-awards.