Paul Valovich

Spotlight on the Candidates: IWV Airport Board of Directors

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Paul Valovich Paul Valovich wants to use his experience as a pilot, military leader and businessman to help ensure strategically measured growth and development at Inyokern Airport.

“You have the land, the airspace and the staff in place to capture opportunity. What we need now is a strategic plan to make it happen,” said Valovich.

Like most of his fellow candidates, he sees the potential designation of IYK as an FAA test site for UAVs as one of the defining issues for this race. “I have no problem with this concept; in fact I have become more and more in favor of it.” But, he said, there are concerns that need to be addressed.

“My first was whether China Lake was on board for this. I am satisfied that the right communication is happening with our Navy leadership. We don’t want to do anything that compromises our mission here,” he said.

“My other concern is that, as an airplane owner and tenant, I want to know the concerns of general aviation community are represented.” He said it is also important to consider existing services, such as commuter flights, and make sure those are not lost through the course of pursuing new development.

“We really need to understand operations, scheduling, priorities, protocol,” he said. “I think these are the things the committee has got to look into.”

He said that the overarching concern is for serving the best interest of the community. “You’re not going to please everyone. Sometimes you are ahead of the game if you have only upset 49 percent of the people. But I think the key here is in good communication — giving everyone the information they need and a chance to comment.

“A UAS center of excellence would be a great thing, if done right. If not, it would be a disaster.”

He said the board needs to outline a set of realistic priorities. “Because when everything is your No. 1 priority, nothing is.” His first goal would be to continue improvements to infrastructure and economic development. “The folks at Inyokern are doing a great job. I want to make sure that continues.”

Valovich has been flying for 48 years — 30 of those for the Navy. He is a Vietnam veteran, holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and has experience and understanding in the realms of bureaucracy and private industry.

He has commanded both at Point Mugu and China Lake. “People think Ventura County is God’s gift to the universe. It’s nice — any nicer and it would be fraud, waste and abuse. But you know what’s even better? China Lake.”

Valovich makes his home here now that he is retired from the Navy. He works at DCS Corp., and when he is not spending time with his wife, daughter or grandchildren, he is enjoying the natural resources that surround the Indian Wells Valley.

“I think our strength and our challenge are exactly the same thing — location. We have room for development for anyone who has a great idea, and the autonomy to allow tenants to accomplish great things. But being that remote also presents a challenge in being able to market ourselves to people,” he said.

“As a bid-capture developer, listening to everything and finding what is best for the company is what I do. I think that will be a very useful thing to bring to the board.”

Story First Published: 2012-10-03