Richard Crawford has been chosen as the new manager of Warren County Memorial Airport.
Crawford will be replacing John Patterson, who is leaving to pursue other interests after five years on the job.
Crawford is a Tennessee native who was born in Columbia and moved to Hendersonville when he was 10. He graduated from Hendersonville High School and joined the Marines.
“I decided after my stint there I wanted to come back to Middle Tennessee because this is the area I love,” Crawford said. “After that I went to school at MTSU and graduated with an aerospace degree.”
Since graduating, Crawford has gained extensive experience in aviation management having worked at a number of regional and international airports.
“I worked at the Shelbyville Airport for three years,” Crawford said. “After Shelbyville I went on to Reno International, San Francisco International and Salt Lake City International, so I have both general aviation and international airport experience.”
But despite his travels Crawford never forgot his roots.
“I was out west for about seven years and then decided my Tennessee roots were deep and I was ready to get back,” Crawford said. “So that’s what brought me back to the area.”
Crawford said he is impressed with the local facility.
“It’s a wonderful airport,” Crawford said. “It offers a lot to the community. Previous managers and employees here have done a wonderful job. I look forward to stepping into that position and seeing the airport continue to excel in the direction it is going at this time. I’m very happy to be in Warren County and at the airport here.”
Crawford is currently in the process of moving from Murfreesboro to Warren County and said he looks forward to becoming an active member of the community.
Crawford said he believes the airport is vital to the growth of the community, especially with new industry moving into the area, like Volkswagen in Chattanooga, as well as providing a venue for community events.
“It’s extremely important,” Crawford said, “like the big veteran’s celebration we have here every year. That’s very important to me, with me being a vet myself. Currently I’m a second lieutenant in the National Guard, so I’m still in the reserves, and I think that’s a very important aspect of the airport.
“I also believe it plays a large role in the growth of the city, the county and the surrounding area for businesses to come in,” Crawford said. “I think the airport is the gateway to the community and I think it’s one of the first things businesses look at, especially large businesses, when they come to the area.”
Crawford said he wants to be a part of that growth and feels the proposed expansion of the facility and its runway will help make the county more attractive to industry.