Meet Chad Neuhalfen, Superintendent of Facilities & Maintenance at Lincoln Airport Authority (lincolnairport.com).
Tell us a little about your business. – The Lincoln Airport consists of approximately 5000 acres of total land area and is a hub of activity. Besides the terminal building, we have 110 commercial buildings and hangers across our sprawling campus. Some refer to us as being a “city in ourselves” due to the sheer amount of infrastructure on site. In my role, I oversee the facility and maintenance crews at the airport. Our team is responsible for all the building and ground maintenance operations which also includes maintaining three runways and all of the associated taxiways and ramps. As you might imagine, we have a large fleet of equipment to help accomplish our workload (which also includes keeping said equipment in tip top shape). We are nearing the completion of our major terminal remodel and addition of even more space. If you haven’t flown out of Lincoln in a while, come check it out and be delighted!
How did you get started in the business? – I started at the airport as a Diesel Mechanic in 1996, leaning on my skills and training learned during college and prior experience in the Army National Guard. I was promoted to a Foreman in 2012 and Superintendent of Facilities and Maintenance in 2017.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Learning how to operate safely on the landing field. You need to be able to communicate effectively with the air traffic controllers and all staff involved. There is little room for error during operations, especially when inclement weather is present and snow removal operations are in full swing.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Becoming a manager at the Lincoln Airport. When I started as a mechanic 27 years ago, I never dreamed I would be where I am today in a leadership position.
Tell us a little about your family? – My wife Gina and I grew up in northeast Nebraska. We have lived in Waverly for the past 28 years. We have a daughter Madison who is 25 and a son Cole who is 20. Gina and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary this October.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – My wife and I were married October 1, 1994. Three weeks later, my brother Kyle, who was living with us at the time, died in a car accident. I had my best and worst day of my life within a month. This is when I realized life can be short and you need to make the most of every day.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I enjoy working on cars in my garage. During the summer you will see me often at Eagle Raceway watching my son on a sprint car team.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I graduated high school in the top 13 of my class…. (Well there were only 13 in my class. I grew up in the small town of Coleridge, NE).
Who inspires you? – My parents. They have inspired me to work hard and be the best I can be in whatever I do.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – As my family would tell you my favorite quote is that everything in life happens for a reason. No matter how good or bad, eventually you will see why it happened the way it did.