Pueblo Airport Crew Handles Daunting Project In-House

July 19, 2019

About 200 man hours and nearly two weeks of work on the sunbeaten pavement of the airport's runways, and 400 to 500 gallons of paint, saved the city nearly $80,000 and does so on a yearly basis.

Every year, the staff at the Pueblo Memorial Airport painstakingly paints all of the different lines on all three runways there, including the aprons and taxiways. That work was just completed in June.

And because the staff at the airport handles the work themselves rather than contracting the work out to an outside company — as many airports around the country would do — Mayor Nick Gradisar said the city saves about $77,000 annually.

"That staff is to be complimented for doing that," Gradisar said when he gave a special recognition to the airport staff at a recent City Council meeting.

The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't require airports to paint their runways, aprons and taxiways on any sort of timeline, though it does require that they stay in good condition, as the visibility of those lines are crucial for safety.

The amount of sun the Pueblo area gets, combined with the heavy traffic at the airport, puts significant wear on the striping at the airport, so the staff there paints it annually, said Ian Turner, the director of aviation for the airport.

"A lot of airports out there will contract that work out. We don't do that," Turner said. "We are fortunate to have staff that can perform that work and we have the equipment that we can do it."

A crew of seven did all of the laborious work: Wayne Smith, John Griggs, Troy Proud, Foster Montanez, Victor DaRocha, Greg Pedroza and John Ogulin.

"We're out there all day in the sun and coordinating with the tower and traffic that's coming through," said Pedroza, the airport's operations and maintenance supervisor. "It's a big time group effort, for sure."

Pedroza said about 95 percent of the maintenance at the airport is done by its crew, and it leans on several veteran employees who have been there for 40 years and longer.

"It definitely helps to have that institutional knowledge and have those people who know how to do just about anything," he said.

Turner said he is proud of his crew and thankful that the mayor recognized them for their work.

"I know my guys work hard and they deserve the credit," he said.

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Twitter: @RyanSevvy


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