Victoria Ruble has just seven weeks under her belt as the new manager of the Greater Kankakee Airport, but she likes what she’s seen so far.
A native of New Lenox — who came here from Sloulin Field International Airport, near Willston, N.D., — Ruble said she sees great potential to expand and be a player in bringing new industry to the area.
“The National Guard’s new facility has been approved and is just awaiting funding. And that’s going to be a great addition,” she said. “But that’s just part of the growth we could see.”
Ruble was fresh from a weekend reception with community members and airport tenants. She labeled those tenants as “supportive” and “knowledgeable.” Many were interested in her experiences in North Dakota, where she was in the middle of the oil fracking boom.
“It was like the Wild West in the Gold Rush days,” she said. “I started there right as that was starting, and people were camping in the parking lot at Wal-Mart.
“It was a great experience for me. There was so much growth. I learned so much that I can bring to this job. But I do understand that this airport is much more about general aviation, not the corporate thing we were seeing there.
“But we do want to see corporate use grow here.”
Ruble graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation management and went on to earn a master’s degree there in public administration with a specialization in aviation administration.
“I knew I wanted to be in airport management since I was a kid. SIU was the only school I applied to because I wanted to get into that program,” she said, noting that she does not have a pilot’s license. Her goal was always to be in management, not in the cockpit.
Ruble replaced Blair Wilson Chestnut, who resigned in March to take a job in Nashville, Tenn.