Easton Airport Day to showcase new ACE education program

We are proud of amazing Midwest ATC employees for “stepping up” to help this awesome ACE Program. The below testimonial is from the Airport Manager. Great job Team!

Hello Midwest Team,

I just wanted to let you all know that your team at Easton FCT has gone “above and beyond” to support our airport’s newly launched education program. I have attached a news article that ran in today’s local paper, the STAR DEMOCRAT. (https://www.stardem.com/news/easton-airport-day-to-showcase-new-ace-education-program/article_0ebfa240-aa88-5760-84fd-2589451e7faa.html)

The whole tower team has been welcoming of tours for the students, but I want to commend Scott and Eloy especially, for volunteering many hours to teach students about Air Traffic Control. As a former controller and ATM, I know how valuable time is. For these gentlemen to volunteer to help our program is truly remarkable. I just wanted to share some good news.

Micah Risher

Airport Manager

Easton Airport (ESN)

EASTON — Although the Aviation Career Education program is barely off the ground, the sky’s the limit for local youth who want to explore the possibilities.

“Nobody else is doing this in the state,” said ACE organizer and Easton Airport Manager Micah Risher. Creating an education program was a top priority for him when he became the airport manager last year.

In just nine short months, kids have responded enthusiastically. During a 4-day summer drone camp, for instance, 32 kids participated. Risher hopes future classes will be just as successful.

Risher, who grew up in Trappe, graduated from Easton High School in 1993 and now lives in Easton. He wants to get “the community out to the airport,” and he wants the get kids excited about aviation.

“We have seen a steady decline in the industry,” Risher said. “One of my missions in October 2018 was to increase the educational outreach of the airport.”

The ACE program will be highlighted at Easton Airport Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21.

The purpose of the ACE program is to provide students the opportunity to explore careers in the aerospace industry by introducing them to a variety of aviation-related career paths and providing resources and support to help them pursue a career in the aerospace industry.

ACE “loosely partners with the Federal Aviation Administration which provides support,” said Risher, who worked at FAA headquarters for four years. Funding for the Easton Airport ACE program is also supplied through a nonprofit managed by the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

The program will promote interest in aviation careers by teaching safe operating principles, using leading edge technology and committing to the future of aviation in Talbot County. Specific careers emphasized in the program are air traffic control, piloting, drones and aviation mechanics, Risher said.

Easton Airport air traffic controller Eloy Reyes of Easton said he has found his 10-year career “extremely rewarding.”

“From my own personal perspective, not knowing anything about aviation — I thought air traffic controlling was for geniuses,” Reyes said. He discovered his career in the Air Force, and for those 10 years, he discovered that becoming an air traffic controller simply required good training and building a set of marketable skills.

“I love the ACE program and where (Risher) is going with it,” Reyes said. “I volunteered for it because it’s important for kids to know about the opportunities (in aviation).”

Risher also gained his skills in the armed forces, learning to become an air traffic controller in the Navy. “It was a great career path,” Risher said. “I grew up in Talbot County, but I didn’t know anything about aviation” even with an county-owned airport nearby.

Wanting to give back, Risher’s 25-year success as an air traffic controller led him to mentor a local high school junior who interned at the airport in July. He has “loved everything” about his experiences since joining ACE in February, local experts volunteered to teach the courses after school at the airport, Risher said.

Risher has big plans for the program. Already, the management offices have moved to the 3,200-foot former Med-Star hangar where there is “huge expanse of amazing space,” including training space, he said. Joining a library will be a flight simulator project Risher hopes to “get up and running in the winter.” He even has plans to build an air traffic control simulator. The next class is planned for October.

“We’re still exploring what the program could be,” Risher said. “It’s baby steps, but it’s really exciting.”

Airport Day visitors can stop by the ACE program tent to learn about the upcoming STEM Festival and Aviation Expo in October, and enter a raffle to raise funds to support the program.