It is no secret that some of the best hidden gems in Hancock County lie within our rural communities, and that includes the people. One of those people is Matt McVicker, the manager of the Findlay Airport.
When you think of the first face a Findlay visitor sees, you may think of a hotel receptionist, a waitress, possibly even a Dietsch’s employee. But for hundreds of visitors each year the first face greeting them is Matt McVicker, the manager of the Findlay Airport. Matt is a Northwest Ohio native and his love for planes has existed since his childhood; the father of his best friend growing up was a pilot and the boys were fascinated with flying. From then on Matt knew he wanted to be around planes for the rest of his life. Matt gained his pilot’s license in high school and initially thought he wanted to be a professional pilot. But after enrolling at Bowling Green State University’s Aviation program he decided to major in Aviation Management. While in school, and then after, Matt worked at the Wood County Regional Airport before the job opportunity at the Findlay Airport came available. Matt felt that it was a perfect fit and hasn’t looked back since.
Matt’s passion for his job and for aviation is clear when speaking with him, but he is also an avid supporter of those also wanting to pursue a similar career. Matt has served as the President of the BGSU Aviation Studies Advisory Board, he is also on the Board of the Ohio Aviation Association and plays a leadership role in the Spring Green Educational Foundation out of Toledo. Matt and his wife have been able to support Hope House through a family foundation grant for a few years and enjoy seeing the work they do for the community.
But when his feet and mind are planted on the ground he enjoys spending time with his wife, Haley, who is a teacher at Liberty Benton, and his children, four year old Isla and one year old Killian. Matt says they enjoy doing anything that is kid-friendly, so spending time at the parks is always popular, as is ArtWalk. But when a babysitter is found he and his wife love to have date night at Stix. Something that Matt has really enjoyed is learning from the other men on his team at the airport, and hearing their stories of Findlay. His favorite bit of Findlay lore is that the elevation changes are so great that if you stand on the furthest end of North Main Street you are at the same height as the top of the county courthouse Downtown!
The Findlay Airport
Something that Matt really stresses is that the airport is a public facility. And to showcase the facility Matt has made it a priority in the last three years to invite the public in and to see the airport. While the airport is open 24/7 year-round and anyone can visit, as long as they stay in the safe areas, Matt has hosted two air expos at the Findlay Airport, in 2015 and 2017 and hopes to continue the event in the future. During these events the public is invited into the airport to see planes of all eras, including those that flew in World War II and are rare to see outside of air expos like the ones hosted at the Findlay airport.
As the manager of the Findlay Airport, Matt is a jack of all trades. He and his team take care of all the details of the airport, on any given day you may see Matt on the news talking about an upcoming event in the morning and then mowing in the afternoon – whatever it takes to keep the airport up and running. Although the organization is small, it has a big footprint on the economy of the community, much larger than most people would think. On a daily basis Matt can see any type of visitors, from a corporate plane with high level executives to someone popping in with their grandchildren for some Dietsch’s ice cream. The airport is a public facility owned by the City of Findlay and, while it may appear at first glance that the airport is just for corporations to use, the reality is that anyone can use it. While over 25 businesses do use the airport on a regular basis, there are also many private pilots that use the facility as well. Matt shared that flying as a hobby is more popular in Northwest Ohio than many realize, and the airport is open for them to use as well. There is a fuel station as well as hangers that are available to rent that anyone can use.
If you have a question about or are interested in aviation, or would like to learn more about the Findlay Airport, feel free to contact Matt, he is always open to being a resource to the community!
Quick Fire Favorites
- Favorite thing about the Findlay and Hancock County community: Small enough to get away from the hustle of the weekday grind, big enough to have the life necessities and leisure offerings.
- Thing to do in Hancock County? Go to Miracle Park with my kids.
- Local Event? ArtWalk
- Local Restaurant? Stix
- Local treat/guilty pleasure? Fort Findlay Doughnuts
- Findlay quirk/fun fact? The airport sits on land that is practically solid rock, in some place you can hit it with a shovel.
- Hidden Gem? The airport, people would be surprised to see all the things the airport facilitates within the community! (obviously biased)
Fun Facts about Matt
- Hometown: Whitehouse, OH
- Family: Wife, Haley, children Isla, 4 and Killian, 1
- Pet: Dog, Akira a Shiba Inu
- Hobbies: Baseball (playing/watching), Football (watching), taking friends and family flying, travel in general.
- Favorite Book: The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey
- Netflix Recommendations/Favorite TV Shows: House of Cards, Billions, Designated Survivor, Looming Towers
- Favorite Quote: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like…”, Dave Ramsey
- Which fictional character would you love to meet in real life: Bobby Axelrod (Showtime, Billions)
- What would you name your boat if you had one? The “SS I’d Rather Be Flying”
You can find Matt at the Findlay Airport, 1615 Gray Street, during the business hours of 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
This post was originally published on May 2, 2017 titled “Shining the Community Spotlight on Matt McVicker”, it has since been updated.