MANKATO, Minn. — Range Regional Airport (RRA) is two awards richer now.

Range Regional Airport was awarded Project of the Year for Commercial Service Airport by the Minnesota Council of Airports (MCOA) at its 33rd Annual Minnesota Airports Conference held earlier this month in Mankato. The project submitted was for the recent Terminal Expansion Project.

Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority (CHAA) Executive Director Shaun Germolus was also honored at the conference. He was recognized for Outstanding Leadership in Promoting Aviation in Minnesota.

The MCOA Board of Directors gives the awards to recognize individuals and airport sponsors who have contributed their time and effort in an exemplary manner to further the growth and development of aviation in Minnesota.

The Project of the Year awards are presented to projects that made a significant improvement to airport operations completed in the previous year. The project could be singular, multiple, or a combination of projects that resulted in improved airport efficiency, safety, or facility enhancement.

This year’s recipients support MCOA’s understanding that the airport owner, consultant and contractor all play important roles in planning, designing, financing and constructing a successful project.

The multi-year RRA Airline Terminal Expansion Project was sponsored by the CHAA and completed by consultants RS&H, and contractors Max Gray Construction and KGM Contractors, Inc.

“The award recognizes a 10-year effort to enhance air service, planning and securing multiple funding sources, and managing a three phase construction project on schedule and on budget,” said Germolus. “The Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority is very honored to be recognized and will continue providing quality services to our region from an award-winning facility.”

The MCOA award was accepted by Darren Christopher of RS&H, CHAA Assistant Airport Director Barrett Ziemer and Germolus. Copies of the award were given to RS&H, Max Gray Construction and KGM Contractors.

This is the second accolade for the Terminal Expansion Project. It also was recognized as the 2016 Commercial Service Project of the Year by the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). The AAAE award was presented in South Bend, Ind., at the AAAE Great Lakes Chapter Conference in August 2016.

A vision that began in 2007 to increase air service and aviation services, the terminal project was completed in three phases between 2013 and 2016, and included a taxiway expansion, relocation of the fuel farm, terminal construction and terminal apron construction. Challenges included relocating passenger services to a temporary facility and funding.

Total cost of the expansion was about $18 million, and funded by general obligation bonds and grants from the FAA, MnDOT Office of Aeronautics, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) and a local match by the CHAA.

Also at the MCOA conference, Germolus was named Outstanding Leadership in the Promotion of Aviation in Minnesota. This award is presented to an individual or airport sponsor whose leadership was directly or collectively responsible for making a significant contribution to the betterment of aviation in Minnesota.

“Shaun embodies the service role that is central to the profession of airport management,” write MCOA officials. “His civic mindedness and commitment to the betterment of Minnesota aviation values make him most deserving of this award.”

The award reads “With deepest appreciation for your outstanding leadership to the Minnesota Council of Airports in promotion of aviation award 2017.”

Germolus was lauded by MCAO for his ability to motivate and organize others, which has had a lasting effect on our aviation community in organization structure, funding and zoning.

“Shaun served as the Zoning committee chair working with airport leaders, consultants and MnDOT to develop a custom zoning option for airport owners,” they noted. “The work of this committee is currently working through the legislative process.”

Germolus graduated from the University of North Dakota’s business administration bachelor’s program in 1993 with a major in business administration and airport administration.

He first served as operations superintendent for the Roanoke Regional Airport, then worked as airport manager for the Worthington Municipal Airport and director of operations for the Duluth International Airport before becoming executive director for the CHAA/RRA.

During his career, he has co-authored multiple research publications in conjunction with Minnesota AirTAP and the Airport Cooperative Research Program.

He’s been an active member of the MCOA board since 1993 and has served on the MCOA board as an at-large member. He has also held several positions within the organization.

“In the process, Shaun has inspired and educated countless personnel in the benefits of his profession,” write MOCA officials. “He has brought his skills as a strategic thinker, patiently guiding deliberations in building a robust airport system locally and throughout the state.”

Germolus said the award is a top honor of his career, especially given it’s awarded by his peers and industry friends.

“I have a true passion for the airport industry and airport management, especially in the State of Minnesota,” he said while accepting the award. “I recognize I have the opportunity each day to make my airport community or other airport communities in the state better. Whether it has been working on legislative issues such as airport zoning and airport funding, or writing guidance materials or enhancing air charter service in Minnesota, my work is very gratifying.”

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