Rick Wise


FALLS CREEK — Rick Wise was thanked for his 10 years of service on the Clearfield-Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority at the group’s November meeting.

Wise, who has also served two terms as the authority’s chairman, said one of the highlights during his time on the board has been improvement of the financial position of the airport.

“And the land and airline and Southern Airways Express is so easy to work with,” said Wise. Southern Airways Express is the DuBois Regional Airport’s Essential Air Service Provider.

Also during the meeting, marketing committee Chairman Joe Varacallo said they have “some things brewing for the fourth quarter to assist in some advertising to the first quarter of the next calendar year.”

“We briefly touched base on the potential in our collaboration with hopefully a car rental business that may be occurring here in the next 30 days or less,” said Varacallo. “And so we’re going to extend ourselves to assist in and try to get a little push on that. We’ve all worked hard toward this and so if it comes to fruition, we’re going to step up with some assistance that became expensive.”

Varacallo said the committee has also been working on airport signage.

“Initially, it was a Black Friday special and then we’re now extending that into maybe the 13th or the 15th of December ... on the signage here in the lobby area, above the carriage, above the flight deck, etc.,” said Varacallo. “We’re hoping that that generates one- and three-year contracts. We’re pricing it right and we’ve got a lot of space there and that’s new income. But for everything that we do, we don’t make a whole lot of money on the first year for doing some of the signs. But we’re hoping to get three-year commitments from several people and businesses, some of the hotels, etc.”

Airport Manager Bob Shaffer said they sold a sign recently.

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“So, it’s going to happen,” said Shaffer.

“We’ve been kicking up our advertising in the Northern tier, Franklin, some of St. Marys and Clarion and our web traffic is up,” said Varacallo.

Varacallo said he’s been flying personally more than ever and makes it a point to talk to people.

“And there are a lot of first time flyers,” Varacallo said. “They’re going on vacation, they’re coming on business and they’re talking about how easy this is. And of course that’s a segue for me to go on a bandwagon and how easy it is, the right price at the right time and local dollars. So it’s exciting to see Southern’s results and at almost a 100 percent in the last quarter of no cancellations. It has been wonderful. And people are starting to step up and we’re seeing more and more people flying on a regular basis.”

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