The Saratoga Sun -

New airport operator announced

35 year operator announces FBO lease transfer at improperly announced Airport Board meeting

 


After more than 35 years, Kim Lorenzen of Saratoga Aviation has started the process of selling-off his Fixed Base Operator (FBO) business at Shively Field to a new firm, Mountain Flight Services. The transaction was announced and approved at an Oct. 12 meeting of the Saratoga Airport Board attended by about five members of the public.

An FBO is the entity in charge of keeping an airport up to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards, and it is also responsible for providing a host of other services. According to Saratoga Aviation’s website, at Shively Field those services include plowing the runways, keeping deer and antelope out of the facility, selling jet fuel and renting cars to airport users.

According to Lorenzen, if all goes according to plan, Mountain Flight Services will take over Saratoga Aviation’s lease, equipment and responsibilities around Jan. 6, 2017.

“The first question to me was, who’s going to do the plowing, and will it be done on a timely basis?” airport board chair Jennifer Johnson asked.

“I’m going to stick on and help during the transition,” Lorenzen said. Throughout the 25 minute question and answer session on the FBO transition, Lorenzen frequently reassured the board that the new FBO would be a competent, capable operator.

“(Mountain Flight Services) have got more experience with aviation and aeronautics than I did when I came here,” Lorenzen pointed out. “They’ve got resources that I haven’t had, as far as the numbers (of available workers),” he continued.

Bob Maddox, his son Aaron Maddox and Aaron’s wife Becky Maddox represented privately-held Mountain Flight Services at the meeting. Mountain Flight Services used to operate a fleet of air-ambulances, but in 2005 that portion of the business was shuttered following a deadly crash outside Rawlins. The crash killed three people on board and Mountain Flight Services halted charter operations in its aftermath, though it continued to own and operate multiple hangars.

“We’ve had a presence at the Steamboat (Springs) airport for almost 40 years now,” Bob Maddox, a licensed pilot, said. Aaron Maddox serves on the Laramie Airport Board, and he and Becky also manage the Snowy Range Ski Area near Centennial during the winter months.

“Becky and I will be involved, but there needs to be one person that’s the point for all this (and that will be Aaron),” Bob Maddox said of the new FBO’s management plans.

“This dovetails nicely to keep us working 90 hours a week year-round,” Aaron joked about his new slate of responsibilities.

Aaron Maddox has already built a reputation as a conscientious FBO over six plus years at the airport in Walden, Colo, according Walden Airport Manager Kent Crowder.

“He was very successful when he was here at getting things accomplished,” Crowder said. According to Crowder, Aaron Maddox was always one of the first people on-scene during a fire or other emergency at the Walden Airport.

Aaron Maddox said he will be a regular guest at airport board meetings as he studies up for his new responsibilities. Bob Maddox also agreed to come to a future town council meeting to meet members of the Saratoga government.

“We don’t see any huge changes with anything,” Bob Maddox said of his vision for Shively Field’s future. The elder Maddox mentioned possibly building a new FBO office at the facility and another big hangar for transient aircraft, but said “The basic theme of what Kim and Peggy (Lorenzen) have been doing is working.”

Bob Maddox said for help with projects like the Conquistadors weekend, Mountain Flight Services could draw from a broad pool of skilled labor employed at their ski resort. “This is an amazingly busy airport with a lot of really high dollar activity in and out of here,” Bob Maddox said, adding that he was excited about the new venture.

“I guess I’m putting my faith in Kim (Lorenzen) to make this transition and make it well,” airport board member Richard Raymer said. The board then voted unanimously to approve Lorenzen’s lease-transfer for Jan. 6., though Saratoga Town Clerk Suzie Cox added that the town attorney would be reviewing some specifics with Lorenzen moving forward.

At the last minute and with no proper public notice, the start time of the airport board meeting was changed from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. At the meeting, Johnson told Cox she thought the time change was going to be advertised, as legally required. Cox, who in addition to her town clerk duties is acting as secretary for the airport board, replied, “I was (going to advertise it). But I didn’t get it done.”

The next meeting of the airport board is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 9, in the town hall building.

 

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