Business community aside, there were other, equally important communities that Camacho wanted to connect with early in his tenure. For example, when he arrived at Akron-Canton Airport in October 2018, he wanted to connect with the airport’s employee community to get a sense of the existing culture. He wanted to understand why the employees tended to have long tenures with the airport and why they had such a commitment to the facility. It was also an opportunity for them to get comfortable with him.
“The very first day I had an employee luncheon with everyone, and I told them, ‘What you see is what you get.’ I’m very transparent. I’m very open, very communicative. I want that engagement from them, and it’s worked out ever since,” he says.
Camacho has further engaged employees as he’s set out to create a North Star of sorts for the airport’s growth under his guidance. He’s working with the airport’s management team to collect data for a five-year plan, which includes considerations for capital improvements, financial strategy, operations, marketing and innovations. The plan hasn’t been publicized as of this writing, but Camacho has assigned the managers of each department to prioritize over the next five years what they respectively think are their top projects or initiatives, how much they’re likely to cost, how long they might take to be implemented and the estimated return on investment.
“That’s the notion,” he says. “It’s making sure that we’re positioning us for the next several years in those various areas, keeping us in a state of good repair, if there are revenue generation opportunities, if there are non-aeronautical revenues, whether it’s through our concessions program, parking product or the fees we collect from the rental car facilities, among other things. Are there other opportunities to collect revenues, because once we collect non-aeronautical revenues, that lowers the cost for the airlines to operate here, and that’s great.”
Non-aeronautical revenue — any money brought in from things that don’t fly — accounts for some 60 to 70 percent of Akron-Canton’s revenue, which means the remainder is from passenger fees and rents collected from the airlines. Having the majority of revenue from non-aeronautical sources is ideal, and Camacho would like to see that figure go up.
Turning ideas into reality was a big part of what drew Camacho to the profession of civil engineering. He liked that the projects under his purview helped people, and how they connected so many seemingly disparate parts together for a common goal. And at the Akron-Canton Airport, he’s working to do just that — solve not just the airport’s problems but those of area stakeholders, by connecting his community to the world.
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