Singer named Kentucky Airport Manager of the Year

Photo by Nita Johnson

The London-Corbin Airport manager was named the manager of the year for 2019 in Kentucky.

He's been the manager of the London-Corbin Airport for nearly two years, but Matt Singer has already been chosen as Kentucky Airport Manager of the Year.

Singer shows his humble side, saying he doesn't know how he was chosen for that honor.

"Either I was the only one who was nominated or the girls here who wrote that up made me look really good," he said.

The selection was announced in early November by the Kentucky Aviation Association and although Singer was unable to attend the ceremony, he said he is truly honored by the recognition.

"I didn't believe it," he said. "One of the airport employees from Williamsburg texted me and I didn't believe him. I thought it couldn't be true because I've only been the manager for 1 1/2 years."

Singer stepped to the top role at the airport in January 2018, after long-time manager Larry Corum retired. But Singer was no stranger to aviation or the airport when he was selected for the position - in fact, he has worked at the London-Corbin Airport for two decades.

"I started here as a lineman in Oct. 2017, but I was in the Army and have been around the airport since 1999," he explained.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Singer's family moved to Berea when he was very young, so he calls Berea his home. He recalls always being crazy about airplanes, even as a child and always wanting to join the Air Force. But when he finished high school, he joined the Army instead and made a career of that enlistment, retiring with 26 years.

"I came back and enrolled in Eastern (Kentucky University) in their aviation program. I wanted to do the flying but there are so many regulations so I went into the administration part of it," he said. "Then I joined the Army again!"

Singer was a Black Hawk crew chief with the National Guard and has his pilot's license. But now as airport manager, he oversees the administrative end of the airport's operations.

"I oversee the building maintenance, manage the budget, oversee the fuel purchases and sales, the airport rentals and leases and the facility upkeep," he added.

He is constantly amazed at the number of people who don't realize that the area has a very active airport - and one that has been on the cutting edge of technology for a number of years.

"We have the ILS (Instrument Landing System) here and our runway is one of the largest - 150 feet," he said. "We have 75 hangars, most of which are rented out but we do have some for storage. We landed Air Force Two with the Vice President, who visited here twice from August to November. And we landed the C-17 - the cargo plane for the Vice President - which weighed about 425,000 pounds."

The London-Corbin Airport also hosts PHI medical helicopter service and accommodates flights with Air Evac, based in Manchester. Flight lessons are also given at the airport - and that program is expanding to include classes for the Center for Innovation program with the Laurel County School District.

"Eastern is also going to renovate the airport restaurant building so they can have classrooms and work with us on the aviation program," Singer said. "Our aviation program is a a best kept secret that we don't want to be a secret."

But one thing in particular that Singer would love to see happen at the airport is to re-establish passenger flights - something he feels is one reason people are not aware of how busy the airport really is.

"I would love to get the passenger service back here," he said. "I know there's a market for it."

Until that time comes - if ever - Singer is happy just being a part of a group that is dedicated and helpful and always willing to help. In the meantime, he uses his free time to spend with his family.

"I just got married and now I have two stepchildren - a girl who is 15 and a boy who is 11," he said. "There are great employees around here and I'm glad to be here."

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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