MINOT, ND (AP) – The new manager of Minot Airport has said that she wants to use her various experiences in aviation management to improve business at Minot International Airport.
Jennifer Eckman took up her new role on October 4.
Previously, since January 2019, she was the Project Manager of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aviation Systems Test Site in Grand Forks. Working in the drone industry in Grand Forks exposed her to another world of aviation.
“The concepts and technologies that make it possible to fly a drone were all quite new to me. There is a whole new list of acronyms that I had to learn, which in the world of aviation it’s amazing that there are more acronyms, ”she said with a laugh. . “I hope that with my connections to the Northern Plains, we can bring some of these technologies that I was working on here at this airport. “
She said there were areas on airport property suitable for growing a UAS business, the Minot Daily News reported.
“In fact, we already have part of the infrastructure, where certain types of drones that we could already manage,” she said.
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Eckman sees the potential for more robust industrial or commercial operations at the airfield. She would like to be involved in diversifying businesses and opportunities at the airport as well as expanding air services and increasing passenger traffic as COVID-19 issues abate.
“Obviously the number of passengers has gone down, but we’re starting to see ourselves going back to 2019 numbers – slowly, but we’re hoping to get there. With the upcoming border opening, I hope and predict that we could get closer to where we were in 2019 by the end of the year, ”Eckman said.
She added that the airlines were maintaining their flights and planning to add a few more flights during the holidays.
Eckman said she was optimistic about the aviation industry, having witnessed its resilience as the 9/11 terrorist attacks rebounded and the year 2000 transitioned into a new century in the year 2000.
Originally from Bismarck, Eckman said she grew up wanting to be an astronaut. Her career focus adjusted after enrolling in the aviation program at the University of North Dakota.
“I really enjoyed my airport management courses and changed my diploma to airport management,” she said.
She got a private pilot’s license, although she didn’t fly much.
“My passion is more on the side of airport management,” she said.
It was this passion that attracted her to Minot.
“I loved my job in the northern plains, but I really missed the airports. I have worked at airports for almost 20 years, ”Eckman said. “I have a diverse knowledge of the different airports and how they work because I’ve worked at several of them, interning at something as large as Minneapolis / St. Paul at a smaller airport like Jamestown, North Dakota.
Previously, she served as Director of Jamestown Airport, Assistant Director of Airport Finance and Administration in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Airport Administrative Assistant and Airport Real Estate Specialist. at Paine Field / Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington.
Eckman graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Airport Management, from UND in May 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts from California State University-Long Beach in May 2004. She is working towards a Masters of Airports Administration. business. She also completed the Accredited Airport Executive program.
Her husband, a contractor at Boeing, and her children will be moving from Grand Forks to Minot later this year when an opportune time in the school year arises. The family enjoys biking and hiking and can’t wait to get out in Minot.
Eckman also expects to be busy on airport projects that need special attention, whether it’s preparing for winter snow removal or next year’s wetland mitigation projects.
Her first weeks on the job were spent getting to know the airport staff and tenants. Eckman said the chance to work in a beautiful terminal with great staff was a good start. “The team are really great at what they do, and I hope to take them to the next level,” she said. “I’ve seen some processes implemented at other airports that I’m trying to implement here to take us to the next level, to be the best airport possible. “
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