Natchitoches Regional Airport manager receives prestigious award

Larry Cooper, Manager of Natchitoches Regional Airport was presented the prestigious Louisiana Airport Managers and Associates (LAMA) President’s Award. The award is given each year as the association’s highest honor to that individual who has made outstanding contributions to the enhancement and safety of the state’s aviation system. The award was presented at the recent LAMA conference on October 25 in Lafayette. 

Larry Cooper was born and raised in the southeast corner of Missouri just north of Memphis, TN. In his early years Larry developed a work ethic and a sense of integrity as he learned the business of aviation. It was in 1981 that Larry moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana with International Paper as Chief of Maintenance responsible for all ground support and personnel. It was in 1994 that Larry opened his own aircraft maintenance facility at Natchitoches Regional. Larry operated Aero-Mech, Inc. until assuming the job of Airport Manager at Natchitoches Regional in 2007 where he has remained until the present. 

Over the past 15 years, Larry has overseen significant improvements at Natchitoches Regional. In 2010, the Natchitoches airport was designated as the FAA Airport of the Year for the Southwest Region. Most recently, Natchitoches Regional was awarded the General Aviation Airport of the Year for 2022 by the LA Department of Aviation. Larry’s understanding of airport operations and ‘hands on’ capability have proven to be invaluable to the City of Natchitoches, the tenants of the airport, and transient travelers. His knowledge and experience with piston engines, turbines, fixed and rotary wing aircraft and even the handling and mixing of agricultural chemicals has been important to maintaining the successful operations at IER. Larry still maintains his Airframe and Powerplant and Inspection Authorization certifications while staying abreast of his responsibilities to FAA and state requirements for airport management.

Stanley Salter, Airport Advisory Commission Chairman, noted “The Commission has long known Larry is instrumental in the Natchitoches Regional Airport earning a reputation for dedicated service and excellence throughout the state and beyond. Of significant importance is the respect Larry has earned with FAA and LA DOTD officials. The airport is a source of pride for the city in large part to the efforts of Larry Cooper. 

Edd Lee, Airport Director, added “Larry has taken on this airport as if it were his own. There is no time, day or night, weekend, or holiday, that Larry will not respond to any tenant or customer to help with any needs that they may have. Safety and service is his priority, and he has excelled in both of those categories.”

Mayor Ronnie Williams said “The city of Natchitoches is fortunate to have many dedicated employees who provide excellent service to both residents and visitors alike. Larry Cooper, Manager of the Natchitoches Regional Airport, is certainly one of these employees. I’m ecstatic that the Louisiana Airport Managers and Associates (LAMA) has recognized Larry’s commitment to excellence by naming him this year’s recipient of the 2022, LAMA President’s award.”