The airfield at the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Regional Airport was officially named in honor of airport authority chairman David Lowe during a ceremony Tuesday evening.
“I’ve worked with the airport for many, many years, but I never expected anything to be named in my honor during the times when I was trying to advance the airport,” Lowe said. “This was a surprise and you can’t imagine the honor that I feel.”
Lowe, 80, has spent 20 years on the six-member airport authority, serving as chairman of the board for the past 15 years. He played an instrumental role in bringing the airport to Lincoln County in 1986, while serving as the Lincolnton city manager.
“David Lowe was city manager in Lincolnton for well over 30 years,” Lincolnton-Lincoln County Regional Airport manager Joe Tate said. “He was instrumental in helping to get the airport established in the early years. Our former airport manager was in an airplane accident in 2010 and he was out of commission for about five months. During that time, David Lowe filled in as acting airport manager without compensation to try and keep everything glued together. He went above and beyond the call of duty for the airport authority chairman and that’s one of the many reasons we wanted to honor him in this way.”
The airport has grown by leaps and bounds in the decades since its inception. Currently, the airport houses approximately 100 aircraft, including several large turboprop airplanes and one jet.
Not only has the airport grown over the years, but industry has expanded locally as well thanks in large part to the presence of the airport in Lincoln County. Most notably, the airport played an integral role in bringing the TImken Company to Lincoln County.
“Back in my early days I was involved with the development of Lincolnton and Lincoln County, and the airport was a piece of the pie that we did not have,” Lowe said. “It was a very important piece and I felt as though it would be good for the advancement of Lincoln County to have an airport. The first example that pops into my mind is the Timken Company, which is one of the major industries and employers in Lincoln County. Having the airport here was something that they weighed heavily when they were considering places for relocation.”
In addition to naming the airfield in honor of Lowe, cast plaques will be mounted in the masonry on the front and back of the airport building to commemorate Lowe’s contributions.
“David has been an airport supporter since day one,” Tate said. “He really, really loves this airport and has generously dedicated thousands of hours of his personal time and his family time for the benefit of this airport. Over the years, he’s served the airport in numerous capacities. As city manager he helped obtain matching grants and made sure that the city was able to cooperate with the county to make the airport a possibility. He’s just been a faithful, loyal supporter of the airport since day one and the airport doesn’t have a better friend than David Lowe.”