New airport director named
Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2014
An instructor at Delta State University’s School of Aviation who is also a commander in the Civil Air Patrol has been named the new director of the Vicksburg Municipal Airport.
Sam Washington, who is a pilot and has a master’s of business administration and a master’s degree in commercial aviation, met briefly with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at the board’s Friday meeting. He replaces Curt Follmer, who retires Monday after serving five years as the airport’s director.
“They’ve found someone who will take good care of the airport,” he said, “I’m pleased.”
Follmer was paid $60,000 a year to run the airport. Washington will be paid $35 an hour for working 20 hours a week, according to information for the city’s human resources office.
“I really want to make sure we utilize every tool available to move Vicksburg forward,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said as he introduced Washington. “Having an airport can be a huge economic driver if marketed and utilized effectively.
“Mr. Washington is very knowledgeable and has already expressed some great ideas on how we can better utilize the airport. The City has invested money in our airport for years and I believe we should expect to get the best out of our investments.
“He’s well-connected in the airport industry,” Thompson said.
“I’ve been a lifelong aviation person. I love airplanes,” Washington said. “One of my goals in life has been to be an airport director, so this has opened the door. My No. 1 priority is not to embarrass you, embarrass the City of Vicksburg and the airport, nor embarrass myself.
“My No. 2 priority is to see that the Vicksburg Municipal becomes everything that it should and can be, and I will work day and night to make sure that happens.”
He said he currently plans to commute to Vicksburg from Cleveland 2 to 3 times a week to work at the airport.
Washington said he plans to call on city and community leaders and civic organizations about the airport, “because part of promoting the airport is making sure everyone knows it’s there. I will be working hard to make sure things look nice at the airport, and that when people fly into the city of Vicksburg they’ll come in and say, ‘I’d like to come back someday because they’ve got a really nice airport and a really nice city.’”
A graduate of Delta State, Washington is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association and the Black Pilots of America. He is a commander with the Civil Air Patrol Cleveland Composite Squadron and a member with Mississippi Air National Guard’s 255th Air Control Squadron based at the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport.