MATA Holds Annual Meeting At South St. Paul Municipal Airport

Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2018 issue

SOUTH ST. PAUL, MINN. – The Minnesota Aviation Trades Association (MATA) held its annual meeting May 7, 2018 in the terminal building at South St. Paul Municipal Airport in South St. Paul, Minnesota.

Special guests included Brian Ryks, the executive director and chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), and Gjertine Maj Bagent of St. Cloud, Minnesota, who received MATA’s 2017 scholarship.

Brian Ryks briefed members on activities and priorities at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and its six General Aviation reliever airports: St. Paul Downtown, Flying Cloud, Anoka County-Blaine, Crystal, Lake Elmo and Airlake.

Ryks was born in Lakeville, Minnesota, and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice Studies at St. Cloud State University in 1990. He first worked at MAC as a noise and operations technician and went on to become a noise abatement manager at Stapleton and Denver International Airports in Denver, Colo. (1990-95). He became airport manager at Aberdeen Regional Airport in Aberdeen, S.D (1995-97); and St. Cloud Regional Airport, St. Cloud, Minn. (1997-2002). In 2002, Ryks was named executive director of the Duluth Airport Authority, Duluth, Minn. (2002-12); and executive director and chief executive officer at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2012. In March 2016, Ryks succeeded Jeff Hamiel at the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

Gjertine Maj Bagent received MATA’s 2017 scholarship. Maj Bagent is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and a student pilot at Wright Aero. She is completing her training to become a flight instructor and professional pilot at Wright Aero (see photo below).

One of the major issues of discussion at the annual meeting were efforts by the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) to eliminate egregious fees charged by some fixed base operators.

Elected to the MATA Board of Directors retroactively to 2017 with their terms expiring in 2020 include Nancy Grazzini-Olson, Christa Restad and Bill Mavencamp. Elected as of 2018 with their terms expiring in 2021 include Mark Plummer, Butch Detjen and Joe LaRue. Continuing on the board are Greg Reigel, Mike Beard and Dave Weiman. President Reigel thanked outgoing board member Alison Wynne for her service, and airport management at South St. Paul Municipal Airport for hosting the organization’s annual meeting. Officers will be elected at the board’s next quarterly meeting. A tour of Wipaire, Inc. was held following the meeting.

Since 1945, the Minnesota Aviation Trades Association has been the choice and voice of aviation businesses serving Minnesota. For membership information, contact Nancy Olson at 952-851-0631 (ext. 322) or email (

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