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.
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.
CHARTER SLATE OF OFFICERS:
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