Matthew D. Dowell, A.A.E., says his dream job is executive director of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR). That’s the job he has now.
Dowell served as the airport’s operations manager, then as deputy director for more than nine years. During that time, he helped the airport grow more than 50 percent in nearly every metric.
GTR was one of the first in the country to integrate drone operations, leveraging the nearby Mississippi State University's FAA Center of Excellence for UAS to help improve airport operations.
To increase the reliability and redundancy of power to the airport, Dowell is developing a plan for the use of renewable energy sources.
Finally, he helped move the entire parking operation to a technologically independent system that increased revenues while reducing manpower requirements.
These accomplishments led to him being selected as the next executive director.
“I first got involved in aviation because of my passion for flying,” said Dowell, whose grandfather and uncle were Air Force pilots. “I love working at an airport and around airplanes. I enjoy spending my days helping to improve our airport and, by doing so, helping to improve the communities we serve. I'm fortunate to work at a great airport with excellent colleagues, tenants, and customers.”
“There is a sense of camaraderie and mutual support in the airport industry,” he continued. “Airport professionals have a collective endeavor and ethos to make the whole aviation industry thrive. Aviation is full of passionate professionals who work daily to help the industry. Gaining friends, colleagues and mentors is the best part of being in the aviation industry.”
Dowell serves as a committee chair for the Young Leaders Committee of the Southeast Chapter of AAAE and an ambassador for the Aviation Cooperative Research Program.
“Aviation is an evolving industry, and I hope to see continued innovations,” he said. “I want the public to become more familiar with airports value and their economic impact on the economy. I hope to see more businesses and organizations invest in airports to offer more job opportunities and economic development. I would like to see airports grow the services they provide. Such as serving as a centralized transportation hub for air and land transportation. I would love to see more railways, vertiports, air cargo facilities, and spaceports located at airports. I'd like to see airports create advanced infrastructure to better serve technology like autonomous, electric, and supersonic aircraft. I hope that airports can become a place people can visit to learn more about aviation and aerospace and their advanced technology. I want to see airports help inspire the next generation of aviators and enthusiasts.”