EDITORIAL: Wishing Womble well

Mar. 16, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Members of the Sanford-Lee County Airport Authority once again must face the challenge of finding a new manager for the Raleigh Executive Jetport of Sanford-Lee County.

Brad Womble, who became manager of the airport in early October, has announced his resignation at the end of the month.

Womble told The Herald, “It had nothing to do with the airport. My fiancée (Cassie) is a doctor and has a great opportunity in South Carolina. I plan to move with her, along with our young daughter, and have our family be in one place.”

That explanation seems more than reasonable.

Womble, a Lee County native who had served for 12 years as a contract pilot for several NASCAR teams, was an ideal choice to succeed former manager Dan Swanson.

Sanford-Lee County Airport Authority Chairman Carter Keller said authority members hate to see Womble leave.

“Great things are happening at the airport and will continue to happen,” he said. “We wish Brad the best, and he’ll still be active as much as he can from where he is.”

Keller is right, in that great things will continue to happen at Raleigh Exec. Lee County is fortunate to have such a top-notch airport, which features a 6,500-by-100-foot runway, and, as the airport website notes, “full lighting, signage and the full range of safety equipment.”

As reflected in a recent report, North Carolina’s publicly owned airports are valuable both logistically and economically — contributing more than $25 billion to local economies during fiscal year 2010-2011 — including $32 million coming from Raleigh Exec. Therefore, the leaders of these operations must be equal to the task.

While the loss of Womble is unfortunate, we would think that such an attractive airport would draw serious consideration from those who might be interested in airport management.

Our airport commission has a challenging task at hand to find the next leader, but there is a great asset on hand that one would hope should allow that search to be somewhat seamless.

Thank you, Brad Womble, for your service, and best wishes in your future endeavors.

And, to our airport commission, good luck on finding our next airport leader.