2016 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Judd Hill

Nov. 10, 2016

Judd Hill
Age: 39
Airport Manager
Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY)

  • Alma Mater: Wake Forest University; Idaho State University  
  • Something people may not know about me: I did senior year thesis in college studying water quality of whitewater rivers in the southeast.
  • Favorite book: Mysterious Island  
  • Favorite TV show: None
  • Favorite movie: The Right Stuff  
  • Favorite hobby(s): Whitewater, hiking, four-wheeling   

When Judd Hill was growing up, he developed a passion for aviation early. His parents were involved in the Sun ‘n fun Fly-In and Hill got to go to the EAA’s aviation academy in Oshkosh, Wis.

“When I first started taking flying lessons, I was learning to fly at a small airport outside of Tampa, Florida and every Saturday, the coffee pot was full and a bunch of World War II pilots were there,” he said. “That, coupled with a few museums like the Smithsonian and EAA’s really had me drawn to the golden age of aviation and the industry as a whole.”

Hill was hired in 2014 as the full-time manager of Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY) located in Moab, Utah. During his first week on the job, he gained unprecedented approval by the elected county council for $270,000 in unbudgeted capital funds to fully fund the creation of a new airport master plan for the upgrade of the airport from a B-II to a C-II field. This accelerated the planning by seven years and was finalized by the FAA in 2015.

Hill managed FAA grants for the installation of a new LED taxiway lighting system and an environmental assessment for the airport upgrade to C-II. He also wrote a grant application and gained state approval of $1.5 million to upgrade the terminal for expanded commercial service, independent of federal assistance.

Hill’s other accomplishments include drafting the airport’s rules and regulations/minimum standards, saving the county $30,000 in consulting fees; developed new ground leases to better promote general aviation development at the airport.; created the airport’s first mission statement; established a social media presence for the airport; established two Essential Air Service contracts with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); created a community contest for a permanent entryway sign; served as invited guest speaker for the Rotary Club and the Moab Area Travel Council Board on the topic of the past, present and future of the airport; and helped the Travel Council host Delta Air Lines, Utah Office of Tourism and an international Press Corps to familiarize them with the Moab area.

After his first 14 months at CNY, Yahoo.com Travel named the airport the “No. 1 Airport in the Nation.”