Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

InFront; from Craig's Maintenance Man to Its Manager Tony Cugno Did Anything He Could at Craig Airport to Get a Foot in the Door -- Now He Gets to Help Shape Its Destiny

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

InFront; from Craig's Maintenance Man to Its Manager Tony Cugno Did Anything He Could at Craig Airport to Get a Foot in the Door -- Now He Gets to Help Shape Its Destiny

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS

Tony Cugno now spends most of his time figuring out which path Craig Municipal Airport should take to the future, but when he first got to the airport, he had much more prosaic concerns -- like making sure the walls had a fresh coat of paint.

Cugno is manager of Craig, a smallish airport tucked away in the Regency area, a position he rose to after working in maintenance -- "I wanted to get my foot in the door," he said -- and completing two internships with the Jacksonville Airport Authority.

Getting his foot in the door led to a job as a general aviation specialist, where he handled everything from airport operations to security issues, experience that served him well when, in 2004, he was promoted to manager of the airport.

"It helps me see the global environment," said Cugno, who earned a degree in aviation management from Jacksonville University after starting out training to be a pilot.

"I realized I enjoyed managing more," he said about the shift in focus. "This is a very dynamic field."

Each of the four airports in the Jacksonville Airport Authority system have their own niche: Jacksonville International Airport handles commercial flights, Herlong caters to recreational flyers, Cecil houses aviation industry businesses and Craig focuses on flight training and servicing the corporate jet business.

Soon after Cugno took over as manager, Craig ended up with 15 more acres to devote to that business, after the Florida Army National Guard moved its helicopters from that airport to Cecil Field. Since then, the airport authority has expanded the infrastructure in that area, building two taxiways and installing lighting.

Three tenants have moved in: Sterling Flight Training, which provides charter flights and instruction; Craig Hangar Conglomerate LLC, a group of local pilots building homes for their aircraft; and Eagle Aviation Inc, a company building hangars for private planes and corporate jets. …

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