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In the Know: Caring makes Alexandria unique

Kreg Anderson is the new airport manager for the city of Alexandria. (Contributed)

Summer in the Alexandria area makes our whole area swell with people and we are so fortunate that it does! I am so proud of our city and surrounding area and how we treat all the people that come here for weddings, class reunions, family outings and vacations in general with respect and gratitude that they chose us to be the place they wanted to be. Truly we appreciate the fact that we are such a great area to come to visit and to live in.

Summer is a great time for enjoying all the festivals and fun, exciting, outdoor activities this area has to offer so check the paper, social media and listen to the radio and get out there and participate in the fun going on in all the communities in the area.

From a governmental point of view, the partnerships that the entities form are invaluable and are what makes us grow economically and gives a base of strength to pull from in all areas. With the cooperation of all units of government, non-profits, and concerned citizens working together we have built a thriving regional community able to solve problems and frame issues so we face them head on together. Our area cares about every citizen from birth to seniors. That caring is what makes us so unique.

Meet the airport manager

Our city has amazing, motivated and hard working staff and I would like to feature just one of them in this article and introduce you to him — our new airport manager, Kreg Anderson. Here is what he has to say about himself:

"I'm a 2013 Jefferson High School graduate and the fifth generation of my family to live and be employed in Alexandria. I graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2016 with a degree in Business Administration, and also hold a commercial pilot license as well as a flight instructor certification. Not only do I manage the airport for the city, but I also provide flight instruction, aircraft sales, and charter services for clients in west central Minnesota. Apart from flying, I enjoy flying (myself, of course!) to visit friends, dirt track racing, basketball, and traveling to new areas

"After graduating from college, it seemed like a natural fit to come back to Alexandria, as the flight instruction business was going well and let's be honest — there's no better place to be than Alexandria in the summer! I instructed full-time for around two years until the previous airport manager left at the end of 2017. I assumed the role in January of 2018 and I'm still enjoying it!

"While there was no defining moment that sparked my interest in aviation, I have to partially attribute it to living near Lake Winona behind Lincoln School growing up, where I could see and hear the activity from the airport every day. As a teenager I spent many evenings and weekends biking out to the airport to watch airplanes fly. The more I did that, the more people I met that made up our airport community here in Alexandria — many of which enjoyed and were patient in teaching me about aviation. I began taking flight lessons when I was 15 with Don Clobes, a retired Northwest Airlines pilot who also did a stint as Alexandria's airport manager in the mid 1970s. Mr. Clobes has provided me an immense amount of advice when it comes to flying, business, and management and I still consider him my greatest influence to date.

"Alexandria has a very healthy airport for a town our size. We have approximately 60 planes based at our airport and have full capacity in all of our hangars. A modern terminal building, self-service fuel pumps, heated hangars, full instrument approaches, plus other amenities has established the Alexandria Airport as not only a desirable home for area pilots, but a destination for travelers from afar as well. Not to mention the close proximity to town, which is an added bonus. Now that we are in our summer months, it isn't unusual to see pilots flying through from places such as California, Washington, Nevada, Canada, etc and making Alexandria their stop for the night.

"As we look toward the future, we are planning to build additional hangars to accompany our growing demand of hangar space for personal and business airplanes, improved instrument approaches that will allow landing in inclement weather, continual resurfacing of our runways, taxiways, and ramp surfaces, and an expansion of our terminal building. I invite you to stop by the airport, look at some airplanes, and learn a bit about our flying community and history here in Alexandria."

What a great addition to our city, staff, and community this young man is! Take him up on the opportunity to visit our remarkable airport! I am blessed to be the mayor of this community and watch as this area continues to thrive. So, whether you live here or are just visiting — enjoy the area it is filled with the greatest people you will ever meet. As I always say, "We are Alexandria!"

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Sara Carlson is the mayor of Alexandria. "In the Know" is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.