Outgoing airports director: rival airports can be diplomatic


Airport Committee chairman Dino Sinopoli presents Greg Donovan with a plaque and a custom produced CD of "flying music" in appreciation for Donovan's efforts toward Bob Sikes Airport. The CD includes tunes such as "Come Fly With Me," "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Defying Gravity."

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 07:47 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Outgoing Airports Director Greg Donovan wrapped up his Okaloosa County career the way it began: with an address to the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce Airport Committee.

After five years with the county, Donovan's last day was Friday. Monday, he returns to his previous position as director of Pensacola International Airport. County public safety Director Dino Villani will serve as interim airport manager during a search for Donovan's replacement.

Donovan looked forward during this week's remarks, predicting a bright future for Crestview Bob Sikes Airport, saying, "One of the best tools that this community has is that airport."

He praised local and county leadership, including members of the business community, over the past decades for paving the way for current growth at the facility.

"The leadership that has been prevalent in our community going back to Bob Sikes, Foy Shaw and the people (whose photos are) on the walls here, and the decisions we are making now are going to equate to the future of our community," Donovan said.

He credited a combination of county efforts and the commitment of local entrepreneurs such as longtime airport tenant Bob Keller of Sunshine Aero Flight Testing and Jonathan Dunn of Emerald Coast Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator, for attracting new businesses to Crestview's airport.

"The opportunity to build upon that infrastructure, widen the taxiways, resurface the runways, storm water runoff system, the pre-permitting process, are all opportunities that were not there a few years ago," Donovan said. "It is not all the county's efforts. The entrepreneurial risks your companies have taken have played an integral part."

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