Koslosky Takes 'Old Geezer Award'

December 10, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County Aeronautics Director James Koslosky has earned the highest honor bestowed by the American Association of Airport Executives.

Koslosky was recognized late last month with the AAAE 2004 Distinguished Service Award.

The AAAE represents thousands of airport administrators and staff members through six regional chapters across the country and is the largest association of its kind worldwide.

The annual award recognizes “outstanding accomplishments in a recipient’s professional and personal life,” said Bill Barkhauer, AAAE chairman and director of the Morristown, N.J., airport.

Barkhauer said that under Koslosky’s leadership, GFIA has grown into a world-class facility.

He also credited Koslosky for his calm and decisive leadership in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and said the award “is evidence of the high regard” in which Koslosky is held by his airport management peers.

Distinguished Service Award winners exemplify “the best in airport management by continually bringing credit to the profession and the aviation community,” Barkhauer added.

He highlighted Koslosky’s career path, from his four years in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller to his coming on board as Kent County’s aeronautics director in 1991.

Koslosky thanked the mentors he had over the years and the aeronautics board for giving him “the privilege” to work with GFIA and the West Michigan community.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been in this industry for 35 years and am still a relatively young person,” Koslosky said upon accepting the award.

“Even though I’m receiving what might be viewed as a lifetime achievement award, I still view myself as having a number of years left to serve you.

“Up until now I used to refer to this award as the ‘old geezer’s award.’ I will no longer refer to it as that,” he joked.

The AAAE began the distinguished award program in 1990, Koslosky noted, and the very first recipient was Bob Ross, his predecessor as the airport’s aeronautics director.

“I think it speaks well for KentCounty and the type of leadership it’s able to acquire and retain here, and it reflects the wonderful facility that we have,” he said.    

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