Greg Campbell ‘91 has loved airplanes since his first flight at age 9, when his family flew from Virginia to Florida for a vacation to Disney World. The young Campbell spent much of the time at the amusement park dreaming of the return flight home. At age 15, his father took him to the local airport—the Eagle’s Nest in Waynesboro, Va.—where he went up in a small plane. That was the moment when Campbell’s interest in aviation really took flight.
Bridgewater College was a natural choice for Campbell, a Staunton, Va., native. The College offered the high quality of education and proximity to flight training that he sought. He says the supportive atmosphere helped him balance his education with pursuing his aviation career dreams and earning his commercial pilot rating while still a student. Campbell’s interest in government and history led him to major in political science, which set him up well to later work with government agencies in the aviation field.
“I had opportunities at Bridgewater College that I wouldn’t have had at other schools,” Campbell says.
Campbell served as executive director of Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport for more than 30 years, overseeing everything from operations, finance, budgeting and business development to public safety. Under his leadership, the airport saw airline service grow into jet service to major hubs, significant updates to the passenger portal, runway rehabilitation and a new aviation technology park. Campbell notes that projects such as the technology park bring new jobs in technology and mechanics to the local economy.
“Seeing firsthand the mobility that aviation provides, moving both people and goods, is rewarding,” he says.
Earlier this year, Campbell was appointed director of the Virginia Department of Aviation by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a position that allows him to have an even greater role in the aviation sector. As director of the state aviation agency, Campbell oversees 66 public-use airports and supports the needs of both airports and citizens as part of a $22.9 billion aviation industry in the Commonwealth.
He is responsible for the direction and operation of the state transportation agency, which allows him to assess how the Commonwealth can help local airport operators and ensure citizens have access to cutting-edge aviation. The aviation industry currently faces a shortage of pilots and aircraft maintenance workers, and Campbell envisions this gap resolving over time, especially with airlines implementing their own training programs.
“It’s an exciting and dynamic time in the aviation industry,” Campbell says. “What I’m most excited about is the opportunity to utilize my years of experience in aviation to help lead the department and advance our system of airports in the Commonwealth.”
In addition to being a business leader, Campbell is committed to volunteering in his community. He is a past president of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, former chairman of Shenandoah Valley Partnership, past president of the Virginia Airport Operators Council and recently served as a board member on Go Virginia Region 8. He was named Airport Manager of the Year in 1996, Aviation Person of the Year in 2012 and received the James Madison University Public Servant Award in 2013.
“Looking back, choosing Bridgewater College was truly one of the most important decisions I made in my life,” Campbell says. “My education helped me achieve incredible career opportunities.”
— By Kylie Lehman Mohler ‘03