Monetti Outlines Vision for Aviation Programs, Airport
Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 12, 2012) – Quality academics, airport infrastructure upgrades, and an improved image for aviation programs and facilities. These are among the goals Tony Monetti includes in his vision as the University of Central Missouri’s new assistant dean of aviation and executive director of the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.
Monetti shared insights into his new role during an introduction ceremony that took place this week at the airport. About 100 people, including university aviation students and faculty, local community leaders and representatives of Whiteman Air Force Base attended the event July 10. It was conducted by Roger Best, dean of the UCM Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, and Charles Ambrose, UCM president. In addition to special remarks by the president, Best and Monetti, the event included a presentation by Lt. Col. Aaron Pepkowitz, director of operations for the 394th B-2 Combat Training Squadron. He gave Monetti a plaque in recognition of his dedication and service to the unit.
Monetti, who is a 24-year military pilot and well-known Warrensburg businessman, officially begins work at UCM on Aug. 1. The lieutenant colonel took his last official flight in the cockpit of a B-2 Bomber this week, and two days later used the ceremony as an opportunity to share his goals as he begins to make the transition from military pilot to university administrator.
Ambrose introduced Monetti while also talking about the importance of the airport and the aviation program to the community and the university.
“This is without question a defining program for our community,” Ambrose said, adding “Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport is the front porch that defines both Warrensburg and the University of Central Missouri.”
He said Monetti represents the “marriage of community and education potential.” The president cited qualities that make him an excellent choice for this new university post, including Monetti’s leadership and experience at Whiteman Air Force Base, his participation in community service projects that include cleanup of Lions Lake; co-founding with his wife, Penny, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Johnson County program; and his experience as a businessman.
Monetti, who was raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., opened his remarks thanking his family. He said parents, who immigrated to the United States from Italy, made it possible for him to attend an aviation high school, then supported him through the process that eventually landed him in the United States Air Force Academy. Such experience provided lifelong lessons that have shaped his professional career.
“It formed an equation for success in in my life – it requires hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck,” he told the crowd.
Throughout his remarks, Monetti stressed his passion for aviation, noting it is something he wants to instill in everyone who is part of the aviation program at UCM.
“I can’t wait to share that passion for aviation. You will find a team that is focused on passion everywhere from the front desk to the flight line and to the academic instructors.”
Strong academics that will pay off in future jobs for students will be a priority under his leadership. He said he is already beginning dialog with aviation faculty member to determine what can be accomplished to improve the program. This includes seeking opportunities for military personnel and veterans. The establishment of new partnerships that will enhance the program are among his goals, and he also wants to look into new technology areas such as unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.
“There’s a lot to be learned and we are going to look at ways to improve our understanding of it and become leaders in the 21th century as an academic institution,” Monetti said.
In addressing the airport infrastructure and image, Monetti noted the value of improved signage at the airport, especially near the highway to increase visibility.
“As far as inner transformation, how many people drove here and missed the exit,” he asked. “We have to work smart and together to improve access.”
Monetti said he will seek to build relationships that will be instrumental in helping the airport to improve its infrastructure. His immediate goals will include expanding the runway from 4,200 feet to 5,000 feet to accommodate small jet aircraft and large turboprop planes. His vision is for the airport to become a stopping point for cross-country fliers, commercial and private pilot – a place where they can re-fuel and use other amenities that will improve the facility as a stronger university and community economic and learning resource.
Monetti is officially retiring in July 2012 from the United States Air Force, having directed operations from 2009-2012 for one of two operational B-2 squadrons at Whiteman Air Force Base. He served most recently as the 394th senior advisor – B-2 instructor and evaluator pilot of the B-2 school house. During his military service, the well-seasoned pilot and combat veteran logged more than 4,000 military flight hours, including flying a B-52 during the initial strike of Operation Desert Storm and the debut of the B-2 stealth bomber in Operation Allied Force. He was one of the initial WAFB pilots to be selected for the B-2 program in 1994, and his distinguished military career has also included flying the B-1,
Well-known in Warrensburg, Monetti is the owner of Monetti’s Pizzeria Ristorante, and is active in the area’s community service through projects.