Saturday, November 29, 2014

Samuel Seafeldt: New Jamestown Regional Airport (KJMS) manager has background in flight instruction

 Sam Seafeldt is the new manager for the Jamestown Regional Airport.
 Chris Olson / The Sun

 Samuel Seafeldt has been on the job as the new airport manager at Jamestown Regional Airport for a little more than a month.

Seafeldt was hired by the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority in September to replace former airport Manager Matthew Leitner, who accepted a job managing three airports in northern California. Seafeldt is married and has two children, ages 4 and 11 months. He has two bachelor’s degrees — one in aviation and the other in air traffic control — from the University of North Dakota, and he was a flight instructor for six years at UND before accepting the airport manager position in Jamestown.

Seafeldt said after he got married in 2010 and he and his wife started their family, he started thinking about his career. He became a pilot when he was 17 and had planned to continue his career as a flight instructor and in flying airplanes.

“The type of career I originally wanted (being a commercial pilot) didn’t seem like a good mix (with family),” he said. “I wanted to have a more stable job and career.”

Seafeldt said he had looked at becoming an airport manager and felt he was qualified for the job. The problem he was running into was there were no airport manager jobs available in North Dakota.

“The other airport manager jobs we could find were on the East Coast or in Texas,” he said. “We didn’t want to make that kind of move.”

When the JRA airport manager job was posted, Seafeldt said he knew this was the job he wanted. The couple wanted to stay in North Dakota because they liked the people around Grand Forks and the openness of the North Dakota country.

Seafeldt was born and raised in Auburn, Wash., a city near Seattle. He got his first taste of aviation while in a dual enrollment program with Green River Community College and his high school. He graduated with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in general studies from Green River Community College. One of the classes he took at Green River Community College was in aviation.

“I took the ground school course and then started flying on the side,” he said. “I got my pilot license and I decided I wanted to be in aviation for a living.”

Seafeldt said he likes what he sees at Jamestown Regional Airport. He said having projects like the almost completed new T-hangar building at the airport shows the Airport Authority is interested in maintaining and improving the airport. One thing Seafeldt would like to see is at least one private flight instructor operating out of the airport.

Seafeldt said his first experience at Jamestown Regional Airport was when he and a student flew into the airport from Grand Forks a few years ago.

“We pretty much just used the airport and left,” he said “I remembered seeing the city off in the distance as we took off, but we didn’t actually come into town.”

Jamestown turned out to be bigger than he thought it would be, but isn’t too big.

“I definitely like the small-town atmosphere,” he said. “I can tell that everyone is excited about all the opportunities that are taking place with growth out by Spiritwood and the direction the city is going.”

Since moving to Jamestown in October, Seafeldt said the Jamestown community has made him and his family feel welcome.

“We’ve received such a warm welcome,” he said. “The staff at the airport, they’ve been put under a bigger workload training a new manager. I can’t thank them enough.”

Seafeldt said he would also like to thank his wife and family for uprooting their lives and moving to Jamestown.

“I couldn’t have done this without my family,” he said.

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