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Max Westheimer Airport and its Administrator Earn Top Honors

Max Westheimer Airport and its Administrator Earn Top Honors

OU Max Westhimer airport with plane if forground

The Oklahoma Airport Operators Association recently selected the University of Oklahoma Max Westheimer Airport as the 2021 Airport of the Year and Airport Administrator Lance Lamkin as the 2021 Airport Manager of the Year.

Given annually, the awards recognize an outstanding airport and its manager for improvements made on-site and community involvement over the last three years.

“Our team at Max Westheimer Airport is humbled and truly ecstatic about winning these awards,” Lamkin said. “Over the last three years that I’ve been airport administrator, the airport team has been hard-hitting when it comes to making this the best airport in the state. It feels fantastic to have our accomplishments recognized by the Oklahoma Airport Operators Association.”

Max Westheimer Airport is owned and operated by OU and is an integral component of the transportation infrastructure serving the university, the City of Norman and the surrounding region. It is a full-service airport with 120 based aircrafts and around 50,000 operations per year.

Since 2018, the airport has completed a number of transformative projects, including the reconstruction of three taxiways, replacing the Airports Automated Weather Observation System with a newer and more advanced model, remodeling the conference room in the airport terminal, updating the FAA localizer and distance measuring equipment for runway 3 to help ensure safe landings during inclement weather, and removing an oil pump jack from the northwest side of the airport, which will increase safety and decrease airspace issues.

Lance Lamkin

Lance Lamkin, Max Westheimer Airport Administrator

“It’s truly been a team effort to accomplish all these items that we have over the last couple of years,” Lamkin said. “Even during a pandemic, my team was tirelessly working to improve the airport.”

In addition to updates on-site, the airport has brought value to its community members through a variety of events, many of which are held annually. Events include:

  • The Aviation Breakfast and Festival in partnership with the Norman Chamber of Commerce;
  • A regional Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Fly-In, which lasted two days, had more than 10,000 attendees and had static displays of 433 aircrafts and 216 automobiles; and
  • The Norman Chamber of Commerce Aviation/Transportation Committee meetings, which are held on a monthly basis.

“The airport represents a significant regional economic asset,” Lamkin said. “Each year, an estimated 20,000 visitors arrive in Oklahoma by utilizing the airport, and it contributes an estimated $34.7 million of economic activity to the surrounding community through jobs, annual payroll, annual spending and sales tax paid by visitors on hotels, meals, rental cars and retail spending.”

Lamkin joined Max Westheimer Airport in 2015 as an airport operations officer. For the past three years, he has served as airport administrator and is responsible for corresponding with federal, state and local authorities and consultants; soliciting and obtaining state and federal grants to support multi-million-dollar improvement efforts; developing policies and procedures for airport functions; and providing guidance and general administrative support to control tower functions.

Lamkin also serves as an adjunct professor for the School of Aviation, where he teaches airport management and operations, and was the 2020 Oklahoma Airport Operators Association president.

“We’re truly honored that we received these awards, but we’re not done,” Lamkin said. “Our goal is to keep pushing the airport to new heights and continue to improve on the greatness of this facility.”


By Mackenzie Scheer

Article Published:  Wednesday, April 21, 2021