2021 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Zachary Bass, C.M., Airport Director, Redmond Municipal Airport

Dec. 9, 2021

Growing up on Air Force bases gave Zachary Bass an early understanding of aviation, and he would later join the Air Force himself. After his time in the Air Force, Bass worked briefly in composite aviation manufacturing before ultimately finding work at the Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM).

“I found a position here at the airport as a business manager. And about a year into that, we lost our airport director left and I was given the opportunity. And so, I have been here since as the director since right around 2016,” described Bass.

As airport director, Bass manages an over 20 million annual budget to provide services to more than 1 million commercial airline customers, 113 based aircraft and over 2600 acres of Airport property.

RDM is a smaller regional airport experiencing exponential growth, of which Bass has adeptly managed while continuously seeking ways to improve the airport and its customer experience. From little things like implementing nursing stations and a flybrary to massive reconstruction and/or expansion projects, Bass navigates it all with an approachable and collaborative style that makes people want to be part of his team.

“I think it's the, the breadth of what occurs in aviation, especially as an airport director every day,” Bass said of what he enjoys about his work. “There's been days where I'm helping negotiate a land lease for a $50 million hotel right on airport property. And then in the afternoon, I'm meeting with my operations guys to try to figure out how to relocate owls from the airfield. And so it's a great example of just really how different and how never boring working in an airport is and to that point – every day there’s new challenges and trying to solve them is something I really enjoy,” Bass said.

Bass has overseen the reconstruction of both runways and two taxiways, including a 3-week full airport closure, worth $40 million and the successful construction a new Operations (SRE) Building, 500-stall parking lot, 3rd TSA Lane, and terminal ramp expansion worth $25 million. Bass has also planned, financed and manages $60 million in projects over the next eight years to include a terminal expansion and Quick-turn Around Facility. He oversees 30 fulltime employees and another 20 contract employees, doubling staff during tenure. And Bass was named Oregon Airport Manager of the Year 2017.

Part of what motivates Bass in his work is the seeing what a successfully run airport provides the people it serves.

“If they're leaving to go on a cool trip with their whole family, everybody's excited or you see people coming back in and two people that haven't seen each other for a long time embrace. And it's just that really personal feeling that we're letting people have fun and reunite and it's just a great experience,” he continued.

About the Author

Walker Jaroch | Editor

Contact: Walker Jaroch

Editor | AMT

[email protected]


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