2012 Top 40: Jesse R. Romo

Aug. 21, 2012

Jesse R. Romo

Manager of State and Federal Affairs

Kansas Department of Transportation, Aviation Division

Date of Birth: 6-2-75

Years in Aviation: 19

Like many other aviation enthusiasts, Jesse Romo's passion for flying began as a young child.  Jesse received his private pilot’s license and instrument rating after high school and now holds a commercial pilot’s license. After graduating from UCLA, Romo held various management positions, and in the summer of 2001 he was given a manager of the year award. Things were looking up as he had established a pattern of flying from Santa Monica to Catalina Island; however, the joy of that pattern was quickly washed away on September 11th.  

That is when Romo decided to leave his hometown of Los Angeles and enroll at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to pursue his MBA and career in aviation. His goal was simple: make a difference in government, protect airports, and advocate for the freedom of flying. 

While at ERAU, FAA acknowledged Romo's contribution to the management of a general aviation research center with a Student of the Year award. He left Florida to work at the Burbank airport where he started as an intern and then earned a permanent position. Romo then went to work for the Kansas Department of Transportation in the Office of Management and Budget before transferring to the Division of Aviation. 

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) recruited him to serve as the Director of the Airport Support Network, but for family reasons Romo returned to Kansas and his role in KDOT Aviation where he interacts with 138 public-use airports. Since his return, Romo has played an integral role in protecting airport airspace and helped lead a team that won a national engineering excellence award. Romo is an active member of the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education and is an adjunct instructor for Baker University.