Huntingburg- Colin Smith, a double major (Aviation Management & Unmanned Systems) graduate of Indiana State University, has created excitement at two southern Indiana regional airports.
Huntingburg Regional Airport was home to the Holland native and Southridge High School graduate for the summer as the intern working hand-in-hand with the airport staff.
Smith applied for the mentorship/internship program in April of 2022, to experience the airport's daily operations and to gain practical hands-on knowledge.
Huntingburg has an established CTE (Career Technical Education) STEM program partnership through Patoka Valley Career and Technical Cooperative, where regional high school students can participate in the internship designed to introduce candidates to aviation career opportunities.
"Smith did everything we do here, including small things overlooked by college graduates like cleaning restrooms and push mowing grass," Travis McQueen, Huntingburg manager, advised. "He showed progressive leadership by getting those jobs done, and single-handily responded to a disabled jet aircraft at another airport (Orange County), helped get it back in the air, by applying his new found experiences and skills!"
After a statewide search, gaining on-the-job training and receiving written recommendations from INDOT Manager Martin Blake and McQueen, the Seymour Airport Authority hired Smith as the new Seymour Airport Manager (Jackson County). He stepped into the new role on Wednesday, October 26.
"You can take what you learned in college, now forget it; this is how things get done," said Andy Kippenbrock, a 19-year veteran airport employee who walked Smith through various learning experiences at the airport.
Being able to step into the new job fulfills a longtime goal for Smith.
"Working in an airport environment has been my dream job since childhood," he said.
And being able to help someone develop a passion for the aviation industry and go on to achieve their dream job validates the internship/mentorship program offered at the Huntingburg Regional through its local partners."That excitement around Smith, who spent the summer job shadowing all aspects of managing a general aviation airport, makes for a great career pathway launched from Huntingburg," said Jim Hunsicker, board president of the Dubois County Airport Authority.