Beginning of OAOA

The original idea for a state airport association had been discussed for sometime beginning in the early 1980’s. George Hargett and Peter Van Pelt had originally tried to get the support of one of the commercial airport directors, though to no avail.

Undaunted, Peter and George then met with Bob Barnard, one of the principals of Barnard Dunkelberg Co., in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Peter presented the idea to Bob and garnered his support for the undertaking. Barnard Dunkelberg Co., as we now know, was in it for the long haul.

Below are Co-Founders Peter Van Pelt, Bob Barnard, and George Hargett.

Co-Founders Peter Van Pelt, Bob Barnard, and George Hargett

Peter wrote the original Constitution and By-Laws for the Oklahoma Airport Operators Association.  These were based on the premise that all airports, regardless of size, were to have an equal voice and the organization would work for the common good.

From its conception, the first formal or charter meeting was held at the Oklahoma Air and Space Museum in Oklahoma City on December 19, 1983. 38 charter members ratified the Constitution and By-Laws and OAOA was born. A year later, on December 28th, 1984, a Non-Profit Certificate of Incorporation was filed in Oklahoma City, OK.

It should be noted that people like Terry Leard and Don Powers played an active role even before this fledgling organization became a reality.


As of 2020, the organization now includes over 65 members and continues to grow. During the year, members attend quarterly meetings, trainings, and an annual conference. 

OAOA has enjoyed a storied history and looks forward to many more years to come.



Peter Van Pelt, Stillwater                President

George Hargett, Norman                Vice President

Don Powers, Tulsa                         Secretary

Murry Witherby, Grove                   Treasurer



Peter Van Pelt, Stillwater

George Hargett, Norman

Bob Barnard, Tulsa

Don Powers, Tulsa

Murry Witherby, Grove

Terry Randall, Muskogee

Duard Spleth, Enid

Terry Powell, Guymon

Wes Mainord, Shawnee

Jim Davis, Burns Flat

Stan Stamper, Hugo

Jonne Ackerman, Perry

Terry Leard, Oklahoma City

David Lankford, FAA, Oklahoma City