Looking to upgrade facilities and attract more pilots, a workshop to gather ideas for improving conditions at the Oakdale Airport was offered on Saturday, Aug. 8.
Don Foster Gutridge II, a business coach and consultant who is in the process of moving to Oakdale, volunteered his services to the city and Airport Commission.
About 25 people attended the workshop, including acting public works director Dave Myers and Fire Chief Mike Botto, as well as Oakdale Mayor Farrell Jackson and city council member Michael Brennan. The Oakdale Airport Commission was also in attendance.
Gutridge, who owns a consulting business that specializes in executive coaching services, is also a pilot. Gutridge told the workshop participants their mission was to look for common ground in addressing improvements at the airport.
“What is the shared vision of the Oakdale Airport over the next five to fifteen years that will inspire cooperative action for all concerned?” he asked the group.
Gutridge told the participants of the remarkable improvements that have taken place at the Paso Robles Airport. Like the Oakdale Airport, the Paso Robles Airport is owned by a city.
“The city council saw a vision of what the airport could be,” Gutridge said of Paso Robles.
A large part of this, he said, was the city recognizing how the airport could lead to economic development and growth in tourism.
Gutridge had the participants break up into small groups, where they brainstormed about ways to improve the airport facilities. He had each group write down their ideas on small placards that he later displayed for a group discussion.
“I want to open it up to wider ideas, crazy ideas,” Gutridge said, encouraging the participants to think outside the box.
A number of ideas came out of the small group sessions.
Along with proposals to engage the local economy, other suggestions included constructing a meeting facility, tying in local events such as the Oakdale Rodeo and the Chocolate Festival, and making the Oakdale Airport a destination for other pilots, among other ideas.
“As a business coach, I’ve found productive people who are conflicted and frustrated because of the system,” Gutridge said after the meeting.
He added the workshop allowed participants to begin to shape a shared vision of the potential of the Oakdale Airport.
“They’re seeing the airport can be great again,” Gutridge said. “The process went well, it was great to see this group do this.”
Gutridge hopes to eventually host a total of four workshops on the airport. He said he will organize the ideas that sprang from the first workshop in written form so new participants will be up to speed. Workshop two took place Sept. 26, dealt with Contradictions and workshop three is scheduled for October 24th focusing on Strategic Directions with the location at the Airport EAA Hangar.
Further information available by calling 925-303-5633.
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