Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the runway: Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport (KLMT), Klamath Falls, Klamath County, Oregon

Joe Goetz, the new operations manager for the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, sits inside his work truck Friday.



Driving the perimeter of the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport on Friday morning in the airport’s yellow pickup, Joe Goetz peered down the road as he communicated via radio in one hand, as the other rested on the steering wheel.

The drive isn’t routine by any means for Goetz, who serves as the operations manager for the airport. The position keeps him busy with a variety of different tasks each day.

“It’s never the same, day to day,” Goetz said. “There’s some days I’ll be out here all eight hours. There’s other days I’m in the office doing paper work for eight hours.

“It’s a lot of jack-of-all trades,” he added.

Goetz stepped into the position on May 2, filling a role held by former operations manager Bill Hancock. Hancock retired in February after serving nearly two decades with the city.

He wants to build on a foundation laid by Hancock and other staff at the airport to keep the airport safe and running efficiently, as well as to ensure the airport is a “gem,” of which local residents can be proud.

“Some days that means I’m in the office and other days that means I’m out on the field,” Goetz said.

“The people who were here before me really laid a very solid foundation,” Goetz added. “I’d love to continue to grow on that.”

He also emphasized a desire to continue to foster a strong relationship between the city’s airport and Kingsley Field, with whom he communicates on a daily basis.

“They were flying during my interview,” Goetz said, of the F-15C fighter jets stationed at the base.

Joe Goetz, the new operations manager for the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, communicates with the control tower while on a drive around the airport on Friday.


Up and coming airport

Goetz was attracted to a position with Klamath Falls because it seemed to of the “up and coming” nature of the airport, with new construction projects under consideration — Taxiway B — and new commercial air service en route.

PenAir begins commercial air service in October, and the Transportation Security Administration is reviewing applications for several security positions at Klamath Falls’ airport.

Goetz an outdoorsman

Moving to Klamath Falls was his first visit to the town, and he expressed excitement about getting into the outdoors locally to duck, deer and bear hunt. He and his wife, Bethany, also enjoy hiking and camping.

“I’m also real big into hockey,” he said, adding that he was also interested in activities at the Bill Collier Memorial Community Ice Rink.



Joe Goetz, the new operations manager for the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, works inside his office Friday.


Early interest in aviation

Aviation has always attracted Goetz, as early as the seventh grade.

Growing up in Milwaukee, Wis., Goetz used to watch high-flying aircraft with his grandfather.

“My family’s kind of been into aviation, kind of as a hobby more than anything else,” Goetz said.

“My grandpa would take me out to the airport as a little kid,” he added. “We’d just watch the airplanes come and go.”

It’s no wonder that Goetz, 30, took his interest to the next level and pursued it as a career.

He and his wife moved to Klamath Falls via Bellingham, Wash., where he worked for several years with the Bellingham International Airport as an airport operations specialist.

Goetz is a 2009 graduate of University of North Dakota, where he earned a degree in airport management. He also holds a private pilot’s license.

“I knew I wanted to do aviation from the get-go,” Goetz said.

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