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New airport manager finds old home in LA

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For native son and Los Alamos County’s newest airport manager, it’s good to be home.

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Cameron Humphres, who spent two years managing the Santa Fe Municipal Airport started work as the manager of Los Alamos Airport Nov. 6.

“How awesome is it to serve the very community where you were born and that gave you the impetus to pursue aviation in the first place,” Humphres said.

Though Humphres’s family moved to Albuquerque when he was just 3 years old, ties to his family kept him coming back to Los Alamos throughout his childhood.

He has fond memories of going to the airport with his grandfather to watch the planes take off and land, as well as at Kirtland Air Force Base, when Humphres’ father was in the Air Force.  His grandfather pursued aviation as hobby, but came to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the early days of the Manhattan Project as an electrician.

When Humphres was a B-1 pilot in South Dakota, he flew in a training program with Paul Tibbets Jr., the grandson of Paul Tibbets, the 509th Composite Group pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb in combat over Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

So, Humphres’ ties to Los Alamos are deep. He said it was much like he remembered it during family visits.
Humphres’ first day on the job was Nov. 6.

“I’m really impressed, first with the people serving Los Alamos County. The county employees I come in contact with, especially the folks in upper management, have been incredible to work with. The county has this attitude that it instills into the new employees that job one is customer service,” Humphres said. “They take that seriously but with a great attitude.”

Humphres has also gotten to know the employees and the vendors at the airport.

“I’ve also been extraordinarily impressed with the tenants and the people that use the airport. They have a cooperative, can-do attitude, much like the community at large. It was much the way it was when I was kid. A really nice community filled with wonderful people,” he said.

Humphres also said he sees opportunities for growth at the airport.

“I think that part of the important aspects of this job beyond making sure the facilities are maintained, safe and secure is to grow the airport’s economic production,” Humphres said.

He also acknowledges however that county has tried at least three times to offer commercial air service from the airport.

“It certainly hasn’t achieved its potential,” Humphres’ said. “By working together with the state partners and the community, we can help this airport grow in a very responsible way, in a way that provides more jobs and better economic impact.”

Humphres started his aviation career as a B-1 pilot, and by the time he left the airport he had become a B-1 test pilot. After his career in the Air Force, he became the assistant manager of an airport in Rapid City South Dakota. He then went overseas to New Zealand to teach airport management, and when he came back to New Mexico, he accepted a job as the airport manager at the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.