Glenwood Springs’ new airport manager sets sights on airport master plan
Exploring the wild blue yonder in her bright yellow Rans S-6, single-prop airplane is more than a passion for Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport Manager Meredith Fox — it’s a tribute to her father’s memory.
“My dad was a pilot, and I grew up around the hangar in Ann Arbor, Michigan,” Fox said, adding with a chuckle, “My dad was like the Fonz. He did things that were cool before they were cool.”
The owner of a tent and awning business, Fox’s father enjoyed bringing her along for aerial photos of the tents as a way to market the family business. Although she spent her youth tinkering on airplanes and chatting up seasoned pilots, Fox didn’t take up flying until after her father died in 2017.
“After he passed away of Alzheimer’s, I decided to honor him by training to get my pilot’s license,” Fox said.
While chatting with friends about flying, Fox said she decided to travel to Boulder for a “discovery flight.”
“A discovery flight is when a pilot takes you up and lets you see if you like it or not — to see if you can hang,” Fox said.
Living in Summit County at the time, she started her flight training in Boulder, before purchasing her Rans-6 and heading out to Fairfield, Utah, for flight lessons at West Desert Airpark.
“You think this runway is short,” she asked, explaining the Glenwood airport runway — 3,305 feet long by 50 feet wide — accommodates only small aircraft. “West Desert was even shorter. That runway was 2,400 feet long by 24 feet wide.”
Potential for greatness
Fox moved to Summit County just a few days before Sept. 11, 2001, and shortly thereafter, she fell in love with the region.
“I moved out here for ‘just one ski season,'” she said. “And I’ve been here ever since.”
Airport manager is a part-time position, so Fox works in her off time as the technical director of the Breckenridge Film Festival, media manager of the BendFilm Festival and as a radio personality at C-Rock 103.3, based out of Summit County.
Prior to accepting Glenwood’s airport manager position, Fox worked at the Telluride Regional Airport.
“I worked in customer service relations at Telluride,” she said. “My duties ranged from working with the pilots on landing fees, getting their catering and calling out fuel orders, and I was their universal communications (UNICOM) operator.”
As defined by the Federal Aviation Administration, UNICOM is a non-governmental air-to-ground radio communication station, which can provide airport information at public-use airports with no traffic control tower or flight service station.
Hired in August, Fox said she’s still learning the ropes at the Glenwood Airport, but there’s plenty to look forward to.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked with such an amazing crew of people,” she said. “And Glenwood has a lot of potential to be a great airport.”
To bolster airport services, Fox is working on an airport master plan, a guiding document for future airport developments.
Although the master plan is in its infancy, she said a few projects she would like to incorporate are a weather station, a transient hangar for pilots based elsewhere to park their planes in Glenwood for short periods of time and a new jet fuel tank with increased capacity.
More fuel capacity could mean more revenue in the airport’s pocket, but Fox said it would also help relationships with companies like Classic Air Medical, which flies helicopters out of the Glenwood airport 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Fox is in charge of ensuring those helicopters and the numerous local airport patrons have the fuel they need whenever they take to the sky, but that’s only a slice of her job description.
“I’m a one-woman show,” Fox said. “I mow the lawn, take out the trash, clear the animals from the runway and just about everything else that needs doing around here.”
So far, the Sept. 4 Airport Expo has been one of the job’s highlights, she said.
“It took a lot to pull off an expo right after hiring on,” Fox said. “But it was so worth it. Everyone was smiling ear to ear. I called up some friends, and they came in and did an impromptu air show that was a real hit.”
Putting her nose to the grindstone, Fox said she hopes to attract more pilots to the airport through increased marketing efforts and hosting more events.
“The more pilots we can get coming through and buying fuel, the more revenue we’ll have to fund the big projects,” she said.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.