Spotlight on the Candidates: IWV Airport Board of Directors
News Review Staff Writer
“I have watched the board discussions about what Inyokern Airport can be,” said Steven Morgan, current member of the Ridgecrest City Council who is seeking a seat on the airport board.
“I don’t disagree with anything the board has done, but I want to take their unwritten plans for expansion and put them into writing. Then we can look at funding sources and utilizing money to support that business plan.”
Morgan said that although he is not a pilot, as an air traffic controller for the Navy he knows the airspace and the regulations the airport operates under. “This is literally something that is up my alley.”
He said that his 16 years of experience on the council have given him a lot of knowledge about how to identify and secure some kinds of government grants. “I am not running because I am adverse to the way the board is operating. I just believe I have a certain skill set that will help move things forward,” he said.
Morgan also voiced his support for the current effort to establish IYK as a test site for getting unmanned aerial systems incorporated into federal airspace.
“I’m not expert, but I have worked with UAVs a lot in the last few years. And I believe I have insight the FAA perspective. Without sounding arrogant, you cannot be an air traffic controller without having a knowledge of the FAA, the airspace, the rules and regulations.”
He said his college background is in aeronautical maintenance with a minor in administration. “It was more than 30 years ago now, but I actually did take a class in airport management as well,” he added.
“There are things I do not know and things I need to learn more about. But I have had conversations with boardmembers about the vision, and I understand it. However, I also have questions that need to be answered. But those are things that I don’t want to discuss until we bring forward an evaluation from the board.”
Morgan pointed to his 16 years on the council and decades as an active member of the Lions Club as evidence of his commitment to community service.
He acknowledged that the climate at City Hall has been tense of late. “In any organization you have to have a level of expertise and a level of trust that are going in the same direction. The confidence level in the city has been waning, and that’s the truth,” he said.
“I know I’m a controversial person, and I can’t change that.
“When I get to that point where I need an answer I don’t have time to fishtail around. Which is one of the reasons I want to have the IYK expansion plan on paper. Right now it’s in someone’s head. You can’t build consensus for something that is just an idea.”
He said that he sees a tremendous potential in UAV work for at Inyokern and wants to help move it forward.
“I believe what the Sidewinder did for this base — its significance and the amount of people who came here to work diligently to bring it to fruition — I believe UAV operations are going to do the same thing for this valley.”Story First Published: 2012-10-03