Indiana County names new airport manager

| Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, 4:24 p.m.

The Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport recently opened its new 5,500-foot runway. Now the airport also has a new manager to go along with it.

The Indiana County Commissioners voted unanimously July 24 to approve Tom Robertson of Rayne Township for the position vacated by Todd Heming's retirement in March.

“I'm looking forward to being a catalyst to forge some strong relationships with the community here,” Robertson said of his new role.

Robertson, a former teacher and licensed pilot, has an aircraft at the airport and has served as a part-time employee there for a decade. A tentative salary for the position has been recommended and will be finalized at a salary board meeting later this month.

“I think one of the areas that we mutually agree upon with the airport authority is the importance of seeing the airport be an economic driver for Indiana County,” Commissioners Chairman Rodney Ruddock said. “We've talked at great lengths about how important it is to have a strong business plan to make the airport move along with the rest of the community.”

The commissioners also voted unanimously to enter a right-of-way agreement with Salsgiver Telecommunications, Inc., to install infrastructure for the public safety radio project on airport property.

In addition, last week it was announced that the Jimmy Stewart facility is among eight Western Pennsylvania airports that will receive a combined $1.1 million in state grant money to help pay for various improvements and equipment. The Indiana County airport is getting $18,750 to monitor wetlands.

The commissioners last week heard from Paul Hart, president of Fluid Recovery Services, LLC, the Creekside-based hydraulic fracturing fluid treatment company formed through the merger of Hart Resource Technologies and Pennsylvania Brine Treatment.

Hart said the company, which leases a county-owned property, is seeking to attract business from Marcellus Shale producers by providing multiple services at each of its five locations.

“When the state said that they didn't want any of the Marcellus producers to use a facility with a surface discharge, that meant about a 70 percent cut in our business (in Creekside) and we could only accept water from the conventional wells,” Hart explained. “That occurred back in 2011, which drove us to wanting to secure the new permits and the processes to be able to serve the Marcellus industry as well, which eventually led to our merger and the acquisition.”

The commissioners unanimously granted their approval for Fluid Recovery Serivces to submit applications to the state's Department of Environmental Protection under its new corporate entity.

Change orders relating to work on the new Creps United Publications facility at Windy Ridge Business and Technology Park were on the agenda, and commissioners approved the county Office of Planning and Development's recommendation to award the bid for demolition and removal of abandoned structures on the Windy Ridge property to Eveready Contracting of Apollo, in the amount of $64,000.

Planning and Development Executive Director Byron Stauffer said the county this month will solicit bids for grading and utilities installation work at the Joseph Land Development 119 Business Park in Center Township.

The commissioners approved numerous contracts for support services to various county departments.

The county renewed contracts with IndiGo to provide Medical Assistance Transportation and continued its contract with Indiana County Community Action Program, Inc. for its Prescription Assistance Program, which provides a consultant two days a week to help residents secure reduced-cost or free prescriptions. The contract amount for the Prescription Assistance Program is $10,000; according to Human Services Executive Director Bonni Dunlap, the program has saved residents nearly $90,000 through the first six months of 2013.

The commissioners approved contracts with companies that provide the county's Department of Children and Youth Services with cleaning, lawn care, snow removal and other services, as well as group home, psychological assessment and prevention programs.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or

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