ABS was good for airport
More than a decade ago, Douglas County owned and managed our airport. Reports of sexual harassment, a hostile workplace environment, and staff downloading pornography signaled a time to move towards contract management. Very wisely, a contract was issued to ABS Aviation and Bobbi Thompson; personnel problems ended immediately.
Next came treating airport business like a business. The result was turning operations profitable and becoming a self-sustaining general aviation airport for the first time in history; no longer requiring a county subsidy. Repairs to aging infrastructure had a stable funding source. Businesses now wanted to be associated with the airport.
Both the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels appeared for air show performances based solely upon her participation and reputation working with them. Considering the size of our airport and population of this community there is no question that Bobbi’s influence brought them here.
There is an old adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” It would appear that County government just continues to keep on fixing until it is broken. Somehow, we have hired a County Manager that does not live in the County, a CFO who wants to be queen, and a Board of Commissioners isolating themselves from the public.
The contract with ABS Aviation, Bobbi, and her management team is leaving and I’m afraid of what comes next.
Airport benefitted from ABS
This letter is for the record to support Aviation Business Services in their work as administrators of the Minden-Tahoe Airport. As long-time airport business owners, operators and supporters during the last 43 plus years, we have seen many changes and airport managers. Bobbi Thompson and her crew have led the airport to economic success and asset status in the county, state, and California’s Lake Tahoe region.
I became active on the airport in 1978 as part of Minden-Tahoe Aviation’s beginning fixed base operator. Again, in 1983, I was co-founder, owner-operator of the first commercial glider operation, Soar Minden, on the Airport. Roger, my recently deceased husband, came here from France in 1987 due to the world renowned soaring conditions and the opportunities for international soaring clientele to rent gliders and tows.
In the early 1990s, Roger and I formed Nevada International Flight and Transportation Industries, bringing many international students. We operated for 15 years but 9/11 made it impractical to continue. Over the past 43 years, I volunteered and served two terms on the Airport Advisory Committee and the previous Land Use Committee.
I have witnessed the work of several airport managers. Bobbi Thompson and ABS brought the Airport to its current economic self-sustaining status and community asset over the last 10 years. They have worked with six county managers, five financial officers and 14 county commissioners.
Most importantly, we remember when the community considered the airport as a necessary evil and airport noise was an issue to be reckoned with. When Ms. Thompson, with her air show connections, brought the Thunderbirds to Minden the first time in 2011, the atmosphere of the community completely changed in favor of the airport. The Aviation Round Up brought attendees from five states and filled up the hotels and restaurants.
Due to the current RFP, and the possibility of a new airport administration, ABS has not been able to hire and train a successive airport manager or contract with U.S. military teams for future air shows.
The airport currently provides 376 jobs and $413,303.27 in 2021-2022 annual Douglas County tax revenue. The airport provides revenue from 80 county owned hangars and 74 active land leases. According to the State Airport Economic Impact study the replacement value of Minden-Tahoe Airport would be $104,174,000. It is home to some 400 aircraft and is the fifth busiest airport in Nevada.
Great strides have been made toward the development of the east side. Taxiway Zulu to serve this area will be finished this year and extends the entire length of the main Runway 34-16 on the east side.
Airport Road and the adjoining parking areas have been repaired and the current administration building is scheduled to be remodeled.
ABS and Bobbi Thompson have made the airport safe and completely self-sufficient, while still maintaining airport infrastructure. The airport provides a $56 million impact to Douglas County. No funds are taken from the county budget. I am certain that they have done the best job possible over the last 10 years and know they would have made the Minden-Tahoe Airport an even greater economic asset to the community and a well-run commodity for Douglas County.
Linda Mae Hivert
ABS brought improvements
The Minden -Tahoe Airport has become a hot topic of discussion. Prior to the arrival of ABS (Bobbi Thompson) I had an aircraft based at our airport. At that time, I witnessed several air-port managers fail in their management of our airport. At that time the airport infrastructure was in dismal condition. Since ABS arrival our airport has improved significantly. A few of ABS’s accomplishment include;
• Making the airport self sufficient removing the airport expense from the general fund.
• Bringing the Blue Angels and the Thunderbird airshows to our airport
• Made almost $20m in runway/taxiway maintenance and improvements.
• Started & supported “Build-a-Plane” for high school students.
• For safety reasons requesting a “Temporary Tower” when air tankers are using the fa-cility.
• Installed full perimeter security fencing.
• $56 million economic impact to the region (NDOT Study)
• And much more...
I extend my thanks and appreciation to ABS for all they have done for our airport.