Education: Bachelor’s degree in aviation administration, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Resume: Airport operations, Midland International Airport (Midland, Texas), 2005-2011; director of operations and maintenance, Evansville Regional Airport, 2011-2019; executive director, Evansville Regional Airport, 2019-present
Hometown: Nappanee, Indiana
As a kid growing up in rural northern Indiana, Nate Hahn would look at the sky and watch the planes cruising overhead. Something his mother said stuck with him. Every person in the plane has a unique story and journey. In 2011, Hahn returned to his Hoosier home state from Midland, Texas, to join the Evansville Regional Airport. Today, he is leading the organization as executive director after investing more than $100 million into the community since his arrival through the runway relocation project completed in 2014 and the terminal renovation finished last year.
What was it like coming to EVV with so many big projects on the horizon?
We had completed millions of dollars worth of projects while I was in Midland. I had gone through that process. It felt like a perfect fit. It was nice to be able to jump right in. The process was something I’m familiar with, but overall I felt like I knew what to expect.
With the terminal renovation completed, what has been most gratifying to you?
It’s the big things, and it’s the really little things. Hafer was the architectural team that worked with us, and I think some of their little design elements are just absolutely great. We put in so many different charging stations. As someone who flies on a fairly regular basis and you fly into a large hub, I’m still looking for a place to charge my phone a lot of times. We made sure that wasn’t going to be the case here.
Then, obviously, the big things are a really nice refresh, adding some color and really brightening up the space. Even coming past the terminal renovation is the solar project we’re working on, trying to do those kinds of things that give passengers the experience back. It’s nice to be able to give back to the passengers and be able to create a little bit more of an enjoyable experience for them.
Have you always been interested in aviation?
I have two cousins who are pilots who fly in the airline industry, so growing up I’ve always admired that and liked hearing their stories. We bring people together; we bring stories together. If I have a rough day, I can stand out in the terminal building and I will see family members come and greet each other and embrace each other or I’ll see a military person coming back from being on duty. Yes, we are a huge economic engine for our community, and that is probably one of the biggest values of the airport. But bringing a family together is something that just makes everybody happy.
How can the community continue to support EVV during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Obviously, people need to listen to all the rules. Ultimately, we will all get through this. We understand we’re staying open for essential travelers now, but when we get through this, we’re still here. It’s even more of a reason to choose EVV to fly local. When you walk past a custodian or you walk past a safety officer, we are your neighbors in the community. We’ve been through this with you and did our best to keep the airport running as smoothly as possible. So when we get through this, come on back. We’re still your neighbors. We’re still your friends. We’re still your community.