Rob Barnett, manager of the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport since 1999, on Thursday was named director of the Daviess County Airport Board, which oversees the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.
After leaving the U.S. Marine Corps, Barnett began working at the Bowling Green airport in 1995 as a maintenance worker and quickly worked his way up. He was named the airport’s manager in 1999.
The Owensboro job “was an opportunity to go to a bigger airport,” he said.
Barnett professionally knows many members of the Daviess County Airport Board, and when the vacancy opened up, “I was encouraged to apply for the position,” he said.
When the job was offered to him after interviews, he decided “it was a good fit for me and my family,” he said.
The Owensboro airport has two carriers providing flights to St. Louis and Orlando, Fla.
During Barnett’s nearly 20-year tenure as Bowling Green airport manager, one of his main objectives was to bring commercial air service to the airport. That goal was fulfilled in 2016 with daily service to Atlanta and seasonal flights to Destin, Fla. Those flights, however, lasted only one and two years, respectively, because of a lack of demand.
Getting commercial air service here is “one of many” achievements he will remember, Barnett said.
“I have been fortunate to (get funding) for many airport projects, many capital improvement projects,” he said.
One such endeavor currently underway is a $1.1 million project to replace all the perimeter fencing around the airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the financing for the project through a grant.
“We have a great staff and the board has given me a lot of opportunities,” Barnett added.
The local airport is operated by a board jointly appointed by Bowling Green and Warren County governments.
Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said of Barnett, “We appreciate him shepherding the airport through the changes we’ve had over the last 20 years.”
Jim Bohannon III, chairman of the airport board, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Barnett said his last day on the job in Bowling Green will be Nov. 23.