Bob Martin Retiring as Vice President of Operations
Bob Martin is retiring after working at Memphis International Airport for 30 years. For the last 18 years, he has served as Vice President of Operations for the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.
Martin has had a long and distinguished career in commercial aviation. In 1968, at the age of 22, he left the Army and became a Station Agent with Southern Airways in Johnson City, Tenn. He was responsible for loading and unloading the Johnson City to Memphis flight. Once the plane was loaded, he would travel with it. The plane left each day at 6:30 a.m. and stopped in Knoxville, Nashville, Jackson, and Memphis. At each location he would load and unload the 40-passenger Martin-404 twin prop aircraft. He was doing the work of four other agents that had been furloughed at each of those stations. He would then return to Johnson City at 7 p.m. working those same stops in reverse. He worked this routine for about four months and continued working at the Johnson City station until 1971.
Before moving to Memphis in 1978 as Southern Airways' Regional Manager, Martin worked various positions throughout the airline's system: Reservations Supervisor - Atlanta ('71); Operations Supervisor - Gulfport, MS ('72); Station Manager, Dulles International Airport - Washington, DC ('74); Operations Manager - New Orleans ('76); Station Manager, Ft. Walton Beach, FL ('77).
When Southern Airways merged with Republic Airlines in 1979, Martin became Station Director. He is credited with starting the Hub for Republic Airlines in Memphis in 1985. Republic's Memphis hub grew significantly and when it merged with Northwest Airlines in 1986, Martin naturally became Station Director for NWA's Memphis hub.
Martin has a lot to be proud of over his eighteen years as Vice President of Operations for the Airport Authority. During his tenure, there were no commercial airline fatalities at the Airport, and despite the millions of vehicles, equipment and driving time on the airfield there were no serious runway incursions. He is also pleased to have overseen the complete rebuilding of the airfield south of Winchester Rd. during his career and is now leaving it with all new pavement.
Also, during this last year, Memphis International Airport received a "no discrepancy Part 139" inspection from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which is remarkable for an airport of Memphis' activity complexity and number of construction projects in progress. This annual inspection evaluates certificated commercial air carrier airports to ensure compliance with the detailed operational and safety standards. Even more remarkable is the fact that this busy passenger and cargo hub airport has received a "no discrepancy" inspection for most of his 18 years of oversight. And, the few years with discrepancies, were caused by only minor things such as a sign correction or a runway pavement marking that needed repainting.
After leaving his Airport career, Martin is looking forward to having a lot more time to spend with his grandchildren, pursuing his passion for hunting, and maybe even some part-time work.