Soaring to new heights: Current manager of Trenton-Mercer Airport is 1st female manager in airport’s history
March is Women’s History Month. But this week is also a special week to celebrate women in aviation.
The week honoring women in aviation only dates to around 2009. News 12 New Jersey caught up with the first female manager of the Trenton-Mercer Airport – an airport with a 93-year history.
Running an airport is kind of like running a small city. There is so much that goes into it. Melinda Montgomery is in charge of all of Trenton-Mercer.
“I knew quite early on that I wanted to work at that place,” Montgomery says, referring to the airport.
Montgomery has worked at Trenton-Mercer since 1999, first as an assistant manager. She took the reins as manager in 2012.
“Up to the point that I want to college, I thought that I wanted to be an air traffic controller,” she says.
But an internship at a Philadelphia airport helped her see otherwise.
“I realized that there are people who run the airport for a living. They weren’t the airlines, they weren’t the air traffic controllers – and I got the bug and that was it,” Montgomery says.
Not only is Montgomery excited about what she does, but she also gets other people excited.
Being an airport manager comes with a long list of duties. She says that the best part is that no two days are the same.
“Day-to-day is very different. It's very inconsistent - each day you don't know what you're going to get into,” Montgomery says.
Though there weren't many opportunities for women and minorities early in her career, Montgomery says she hopes to change that narrative for other future leaders. The Long Island native is currently the president of the northeast chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives where she oversees the young professionals program.
“We're always looking for opportunities to work with youth. We try to connect with the city of Trenton as much as we can,” Montgomery says. “Aviation might seem like a narrow scope and field but really, inside aviation, there's all different platforms and environments.”
All the managers who came before Montgomery were in charge for 30-plus years. Montgomery says she will probably be at Trenton-Mercer for just as much time.