Roach takes on John C. Tune at turbulent time

Friday, November 20, 2020, Vol. 44, No. 47


Nothing like starting a job when things are peaceful and quiet. That isn’t the case for Jeff Roach, who was recently named executive director of operations and management at John C. Tune Airport.

Roach comes to Tune after serving as manager of the Fairbanks International Airport and since 2018 has been assistant vice president, strategic planning at the Nashville International Airport, he has overseen all airport planning, airspace, noise and airport grant management activities, as well as completing updates to the JWN Airport Layout Plan and the Nashville International Airport Master Plan.

He also has led the effort to acquire grant funding for the construction of the JWN Air Traffic Control Tower and inclusion of the JWN ATCT in the Federal Aviation Administration Contract Tower Program.

“Jeff Roach is the perfect fit for what the Airport Authority needs at John C. Tune Airport,” says Doug Kreulen, president and CEO of MNAA.

“His experience managing airports, as well as his understanding of planning and development, provides us with the skills and expertise we need to take JWN to the next level.”

Roach explained the challenges and opportunities for Tune in the coming months.

What do you see as the major challenges right now, other than rebuilding, for Tune?

“The tornado was devastating for JWN, but the Airport Authority now has an opportunity to do more than just rebuild. We now have the opportunity to reimagine and redevelop that facility, to take it in a new direction that fulfills the needs, both now and in the future, of the general aviation community for this region.

“That’s a big challenge, but a great chance for us to improve and expand JWN. Once our overall, long-term plan is approved by the Metropolitan Airports Commission, we will tackle financing and phasing. It’s all about a fresh start, improving operational efficiency and creating a general aviation airport that rivals the best in the country.’’

Is there a pretty big waiting list of people and aircraft waiting to come back?

“There were approximately 139 tenants at JWN before the tornado. Ninety-one were displaced after the tornado and, as of today, another 39 are on the waiting list for a hangar.’’

What role do you think Tune serves in the area’s overall economic development?

“General aviation activity at John C. Tune airport generates considerable economic activity. A recent study indicated that, in 2019 alone, JWN had a total economic impact of $40 million in the Nashville area and contributed to 353 jobs, $21 million in personal income, $30.6 million in business revenue and $2 million in state, local and federal taxes.

“Beyond that analysis, JWN serves as an efficient and convenient airport for corporate fleets, making it attractive and useful for business recruitment efforts. And JWN continues to be a significant reliever for Nashville International Airport, which allows BNA to grow and continue serving as a major economic engine for this region.’’

What do you think success looks like for Tune in 2021 and beyond?

“In 2021 we’ll look to advance our long-term development plan, including a sustainable funding path, finish the new air traffic control tower, and complete much of the first phase of reconstruction work.

“Longer term, our goal is to service the growing general aviation community, both corporate and private, by providing a first-class general aviation facility, with quality amenities and impeccable customer service. We have the opportunity to completely remake JWN, and we intend to do it right.’’