Jason grew up next to the Greater Kankakee Airport in Kankakee, Illinois. His mother was a flight attendant for Continental airlines so he has been flying since he was about six months old. On the weekends his family always tried to find things to do. One day they noticed a pancake breakfast at the airport so they went. They were offering $10.00 airplane rides and that, he says, was his point of no return.
After that he would ride his bike over to the airport to watch airplanes and talk with pilots. He and his mother joined the local EAA chapter. If there was an airplane ride he could get involved with, he took it.
He got to know the airport manager. When he turned 16 they offered him a job just doing odd jobs here and there. The airport had just bought out the FBO so he started fueling airplanes, cleaning hanger floors, and mowing lawns. Basically anything that needed to be done at a small airport.
From that point on he was in high school and worked part time during school hours and full time during summers and breaks.
He went to college at Southern Illinois University for engineering but switched to aviation. He worked at Southern Illinois Airport whenever his hours would allow.
Summers and breaks he would go home and work at the KIKK. Three days after graduation he was hired at his home town airport. They knew the airport manager was planning on leaving in a few months, so they created an assistant manager position for him which made for a seamless transition from the retiring airport manager to him.
It was while he was at an airport executive conference that he became acquainted with a recruiter that was recruiting for the job here at FNL. Although he and his wife were happy where they were, they were open to the idea of going someplace else.
The area of Illinois that he and his family lived in has never really recovered from the recession in 2007. His wife’s family lives in Texas, so Colorado was a good midway point and a great place to raise his family. It also was seen as having tremendous potential to advance his career as FNL was a commercial service airport with more traffic and a higher level of activity.
He loves his job. As he says, “With a small staff there is always something different and challenging to do every day.”
He has owned an airplane, but that was one of the point to point planes. He wants a plane where he can take people up for rides and enjoy the scenery and the act of flying rather than just go fast and get there.
At this point of his life he needs to think about all the costs and time needed to raise a growing family. His wife is staying home raising the kids, which has recently grown to three, so he reluctantly “traded his plane in for a minivan.”
Some day he would like to get back into aircraft ownership but for now he has friends that he can fly with and aircraft he can rent.