Meet Springfield’s new airport manager

The youngest person to ever serve as airport manager in Springfield will start his new role at the end of the month.

Seth Timmerman, who currently manages the Darke County Airport, has been named manager of the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport, city officials announced Friday.

When choosing from “quite a few” candidates for the position, Airport Advisory Board chairman Mark Ashworth said the 23 year old’s knowledge of social media for use in promotion and economic development of the airport was a benefit.

“Some would say that his age is somewhat of an obstacle, but I think quite the opposite. In meeting with him, he has some different perspectives,” Ashworth said.

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He graduated early from Indiana State University with a degree in aviation management and unmanned systems in 2017, two days before beginning at the Darke County Airport. He also has a pilot’s licence and certificate to fly unmanned aerial systems.

“There’s a pilot shortage; there’s a mechanic shortage; there’s a shortage altogether across the aviation industry,” Timmerman said. “To get that younger generation to know there’s opportunitues, there’s jobs…the biggest way to do that is through social media.”

Timmerman’s early goals include creating an up-to-date master plan, growing the use of unmanned systems and increasing the airport’s use among the general aviation community.

“We look for advancing the importance and attractiveness of this great facility that the city has, and I think Seth will lead us in that direction,” Ashworth said.

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The airport is very active, but since the Air National Guard made changes to its operation, people have forgotten it exists, Ashworth said. Airport leaders want the general aviation and corporate communities to realize the amenities of the airport and surrounding community — a vision Timmerman said he shares.

“The National Guard base is a huge asset, the Air Force research lab also,” Timmerman said. “I just know with them out there that they’re using great technology. It’s also right between Columbus and Wright-Patt…the military using unmanned systems is huge,” Timmerman said.

There’s also several local colleges that interest Timmerman, especially when it comes to attracting young adults to aviation as more colleges add unmanned system majors.

“We are pleased that Seth is joining the city and leading the team at the airport,” said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development. “Seth has the experience, energy and enthusiasm that’s required to bring the airport into this next era of growth and innovation.”

Timmerman will relocate to Springfield when he starts his role Jan. 30. He replaces Don Smith, who retired in late October after serving the airport for about four years.

The airport has been a regional hub for private pilots, businesses and the military for more than 50 years. It’s the closest general aviation center to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which employs nearly 28,000 people.

“It’s growing and there’s a lot going on. I kind of want to be a part of that and being at the airport is a huge part of that,” Timmerman said.

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