MARTINSBURG - The Altoona-Blair County Airport will lose its manager in October.
Charles Pillar, who has worked 13 years at the airport, said Monday night that he is pursuing a career change and Oct. 4 will be his last day.
Pillar's announcement, presented at the monthly airport authority meeting, drew expressions of regret and praise.
"I don't want to second that," authority member Gary Orner said after authority Chairman Lanny Ross asked for action on Pillar's resignation.
Ross praised Pillar for his knowledge of the local airport and the airport industry.
"It's too bad you didn't have time to write us a book," Ross said.
Pillar took the manager's post about two years before Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and at Shanksville, killing nearly 3,000 people. The event led to a immediate decline in airport passenger traffic and the introduction of stricter regulations.
"You've guided the airport through some very, very tough times," Ross said.
Blair County Commissioner Diane Meling added her praise and acknowledged Pillar's participation, on behalf of the airport, in local endeavors and efforts.
"Throughout the community, your contributions have been recognized," Meling said.
Pillar is willing to help organize an interim team of current employees who will handle management responsibilities until a new manager is hired, authority member Debbie Shuster King said.
"We will miss him," King said, "but we'll keep rolling."
King, as the authority's finance committee chairwoman, said she will work with the authority's personnel committee chairman, Don Ruggery, to prepare a list of qualifications in preparation for posting the job opening and related details.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.