Vermilion Regional Airport Manager Resigning

Dec. 2, 2020

Dec. 1—DANVILLE — After about two and half years in the part-time Vermilion Regional Airport manager position, Mike Vadeboncoeur is resigning.

His last day is Dec. 15, but he will still be around the airport, which is located off North Bowman Avenue, continuing his love of restoring aircraft with his business, Midwest Aero.

"I have really enjoyed my time here serving the airport as manager. We have accomplished a lot in my two and a half years," according to Vadeboncoeur.

However, the airport is in a good position and he feels now is a good time to transition back to his other obligations as owner of Midwest Aero.

"We have a fantastic board of directors and they have been extremely supportive; and frankly under the leadership of Jonathan Myers as board chair, it made my decision more difficult. They have been great to work with," Vadeboncoeur said.

"When I was asked to step in and manage the airport back in June of 2018, I did so out of my desire to assist the airport and the board during that transition. I am really looking forward to seeing the airport continue to improve and grow in the future. Our Vermilion Regional Airport is indeed the Gateway To Danville and it is my belief that the board and new management will continue to ensure the long-term viability of our critical regional infrastructure," he said.

Vadeboncoeur will continue his management and ownership of Midwest Aero as fixed base operator and aircraft maintenance and vintage World War II restoration services.

The Vermilion Regional Airport Authority Board has a special meeting at 4 p.m. today to accept Vadeboncoeur's resignation.

Board members also will discuss a timeline for seeking a new full-time manager, instead of part-time, and approving a job description and salary range.

"Mike did an excellent job. We're sad to see him step down," said board chairman Myers.

He added that the board has a really ambitious tone in trying to get projects done and dramatically improve the airport.

"It's tough for a part-time manager to carry out all the responsibilities of running an airport and getting all these things done. He's got his own business," Myers said.

Myers said they will advertise locally and nationally for a new full-time airport manager.

The board approved a continuity plan earlier this year, and Assistant Manager/Office Manager Sheryl Tingley, who started in June, and Myers will be filling the manager's duties in the interim.

The airport's board members stayed the same for many years, but in the last few years, several new members have come on the board, Myers said.

Members are: Tom Day, Myers, Joe Vincent, Craig Davidson and Mike Fuesting. Myers said he came on the board in January 2020.

Myers said the airport has completed renovations in the old terminal building, Cloud 9 event center.

He said it's a first-class event center, like stepping into a 1960s Britt Terminal.

According to the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame, by the mid-1950s, Bill Britt became the FBO at Vermilion County Airport in Danville. The charter segment of his FBO grew as he filled in for Lake Central and Ozark Airlines with commuter flights. This led to the formation of Britt Airlines that grew to more than 1,000 employees and 47 turbo-prop and jet aircraft. Operating without any subsidies, Britt Airlines carried almost 1.3 million passengers a year and was the second busiest carrier at O'Hare.

Board member Davidson at a previous Vermilion Regional Airport board meeting acknowledged that Britt Airways was the community's air passenger flight company in the 1970s and 1980s. He suggested the Cloud 9 center/old terminal building see that era of decor and have period posters of Britt Airways on display. Ramp side improvements previously discussed using Edison lights.

Myers said they put a lot of effort into the renovation design, bringing in the airport's history, and partnered with the Britt family.

A dedication of the event center could occur in late spring, early summer 2021.

Myers said they want to make it a great airport for the public.

"We want to make sure it's a community airport," he said.

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