Last Modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 9:56 PM
SULPHUR — Since the Southland Field Airport underwent management changes, things have turned around for the facility, according to the new airport manager.
Michael McDougall was named airport manager at the end of January after former manager Sam Larsh’s resignation in September.
McDougall, who moved to Sulphur from Dayton, Ohio, said that since taking over he has “gotten a lot accomplished.”
“As soon as I took the position we hit the ground running,” he told the City Council at its March meeting. “We have totally turned things around. We have changed our attitudes, and we’re progressing.”
McDougall said he and his crew have “cleaned up” the airport, improved customer service, put up a windsock, cleaned hangars and storage units, and trimmed the airport’s budget.
“The main thing that pilots and aircraft tenants wanted was the windsock that had been down for a few months put back up,” he said. “I did everything I could to expedite getting the windsock and putting it up as quickly as we could. It is officially assembled and functional.”
According to McDougall, the airport is “doing really well” and he is working with the state Department of Transportation and Development to help market the airport with roadside signs.
“We are working to clean up the green airplane signs on the side of the road and to get the name of the airport below that sign,” he said. “That way, people will know that we are the Southland Field Airport rather than there is just an airport. I think it will aid in marketing purposes.”
With several industries located in the area, McDougall said he has been working to market the airport to those facilities to use for flying business partners in and out of the area. He said he has also worked to trim the facility’s budget by hiring a new garbage removal company.
“We are a totally new airport since I have taken over,” McDougall said. “We really trimmed down costs with a lot of other little things that were racking up our budget and weren’t necessary. I’m doing everything on my part to help the city of Sulphur and move the airport and the city forward.”
Mayor Chris Duncan said that since McDougall has taken over the airport, the board has “gotten more aggressive.”
“(Sulphur is) half owner of the airport along with the port and in the future (McDougall) is going to be coming to us and the port for things that are needed out there,” he said.
“He is making contacts all over. We have a gold mine out there because of the industries that are right here in our backyard. He has done a lot so far, and we are thankful for everything (McDougall) has done so far.”