The new Mena Intermountain Airport Manager has just completed his first week on the job and couldn’t be happier in what he described as his ‘dream job.’ He began his new duties on June 1, 2016. Fred Ogden moved back to Mena last fall, where he was born and raised, to retire and be closer to his aging parents. Little did he know that a dream job would open up after his arrival.
Married with one son, Ogden lived in Dallas working for the oil and gas industry where he negotiated bids and contracts for many years. He spent three decades in the business, traveling the world over during his last few years there, visiting places like Singapore, Paris, and London.
But, as he put it, “Mena has always been home base.” Ogden’s love of planes is a result of his childhood. His father was a pilot in the Air Force and he was around aircraft from an early age. “I remember the first plane ride I took. It was in a flying club Cessna. I liked looking at the world from a bird’s eye view.” However, due to his budding career in the oil industry, it was just two years ago that he was able to earn his wings and his pilot’s license by attending flight schools in Dallas and Houston. “It was a lifelong dream,” he smiled. “Aviation is always something I wanted to do.”
So when the opportunity arose for him to enter the world of aviation, Ogden took it. “I heard there was an opening and I had several people encourage me to apply. I was actually pushing for another opportunity but I couldn’t let this one go.”
His skills, he explained, are in administration, focusing on profit and loss, and having to deal with leases and contracts. “That’s what a lot of this job entails,” he explained. Not only does he have the skills necessary, he has the heart as well.
“I have a deep appreciation for this airport,” said Ogden. In fact, as his family would travel home to Mena when he was growing up, he has fond memories of flying in and out of the local airport with his father. “I’ve been out here checking lights at night for a long time,” he smiled. “I’m very invested in this place.”
He is also thankful for the shape that Will Robbins, the previous manager, left the place in. “He left me with good relationships with everybody on the field. I just want to try to keep up the good relationships with people on the field, the FAA, and the City of Mena.”
He said the Airport Commission is in place and ready to assist him to help things run smoothly. “I am going to take my direction from the Airport Commission. They obviously want to grow and prosper and I want to do my best to help them achieve those goals,” he explained.
“One thing I’ve noticed is there are a lot of people in Mena that are pulling together. I really like that. I see it here at the airport too. There just seems to be a common goal to help this place grow and thrive and I will do what I can to make that happen.”
He expressed that although he is appreciative for the amount of industrial traffic on the runways, he would like to see more ‘general aviation’ such as locals taking Sunday afternoon flights.
“I hope to enjoy this job for a long time. I just can’t see myself retired right now. I started my first paper route in Mena when I was ten years old. You would think that I would be ready to retire but I just don’t know when to stop. Not now for sure,” Ogden smiled.