- 27 August 2005
A new AWOS
(Automated Weather Observation System) was commissioned
at Okeechobee County Airport during August, 2005, which
can be contacted at 118.675 or, by telephone, at (863)
system provides accurate, precise weather data, to
pilots, the FAA and the National Weather Service.
Okeechobee's AWOS provides Altimeter Setting, Density
Altitude, Dew Point, Lightning Detection, Precipitation,
Sky Conditions, Temperature, Variable Wind, Wind
Direction, Wind Gust and Wind Speed.
NEWS - 04 August 2005
OKEECHOBEE AIRPORT HAS A NEW MANAGER
By Pete Gawda, Okeechobee News
Okeechobee County Airport's new manager, Vernon Gray,
comes to the job with years of experience. He is a
veteran of 22 years in the navy in the aviation field.
In addition, he spent 16 years as a civilian defense
contractor in the aviation field.
Mr. Gray said that after two years of retirement he
decided to go back to work.
After applying for the job, he was interviewed over the
telephone in late March. Next, on April 11, he had a
3.5-hour face-to-face interview with County
Administrator George Long. Mr. Long must have liked what
he heard because Mr. Gray said that two or three weeks
later, he was offered the job as manager of the airport
and the industrial park.
Upon arrival, he hit the ground running. He is now in
his fifth week and is involved in several projects.
"Thus far he has done a great job and I expect he is
going to continue to do that," was Mr. Long's comment
about the new airport manager.
Mr. Long went on to say that he expected to see more
uniformity in leases and better maintenance.
The apron lighting project will soon be completed that
will light up the area around the terminal building, the
aircraft parking area and the fueling area.
Mr. Gray said the Automated Weather Observation Station
(AWOS) is operational. Using this system, pilots
approaching Okeechobee can receive current weather
conditions by radio. He said it would pick up lighting
75 miles away.
In three or four months, Mr. Gray said the airport
master plan carrying the airport ten years into the
future would be completed.
Security fencing around the airport will be completed
Mr. Gray said he was actively seeking tenants for the
industrial park. He said his priority was to facilitate
economic development of the airport and the industrial
park and to create jobs. He said he measured economic
development by the number of jobs created and that while
renting hangars generates revenue for the county, it
doesn't generate jobs.
However, he said that all hangars are rented and there
is a waiting list of 20 people for vacant hangars.
Mr. Gray said there seems to be a lot of interest in
renting industrial park space. He said he had a call
from a woman in Oregon who was interested in a 30 to
40,000 thousand square foot warehouse.
As a drawing point, the Okeechobee airport has the
lowest priced aviation fuel in the area, he said.
Mr. Gray grew up in rural southern Maryland and he said
that coming to Okeechobee was like coming back to the
area where he grew up. He and his wife have two grown
sons. One is a teacher and the other son is in civil
The Grays also have four grandchildren.