Meet Joshua Cothren

Airspace Safety Program Manager
Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2019 issue

Joshua Cothren joined the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics (BOA) in February 2019 as the Airspace Safety Program Manager. He is responsible for promoting Wisconsin airports and helping them operate safely. His duties include assisting airports in ensuring the safety of the airspace surrounding their runways, managing the state’s tall tower permitting program, conducting airport site approvals and working with local sponsors on land use and zoning projects. Additionally, he conducts airport inspections and serves as a liaison between local sponsors and state and federal agencies.

Joshua is an FAA certificated pilot and a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Southern University. Joshua brings with him, over a decade of experience in a variety of roles. He first caught the aviation bug during a high school career exploration internship many years ago. In fact, his first general aviation flight was as a backseat passenger while a private pilot student was learning all about power-on and power-off stalls from an instructor.

After graduating, Joshua enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman. After his enlistment, he settled in Georgia with his wife and worked as a police officer, while earning his degree. He then began his aviation career with a privately-owned FBO as a lineman and maintenance worker. He advanced from there, taking positions as operations manager at a commercial service airport, aviation programs manager at a two-airport commission, and airport manager at a general aviation airport.

During his tenure in airport management, Joshua enjoyed working with pilots, airport managers and others to accomplish many significant projects including regional fly-ins, youth career days, obstruction mitigation, and zoning process improvements to ensure safe navigation of airspace. By working together with various stakeholders, he also started initiatives to improve radio communication, instrument approaches and the overall safety of operations at airports.

When not enjoying a cup of coffee and some hangar talk, Joshua enjoys being outdoors. He and his wife, Jeanne, like exploring new places and getting away for long motorcycle rides on their Harley Davidson Heritage Softail. They have two sons, ages 12 and 15, who love camping, hunting, fishing and farming.

Joshua and his family are excited about living in Wisconsin, and he is looking forward to sharing his passion for aviation and assisting in the continued success of Wisconsin airports. You can reach Joshua Cothren at 608-266-6812 or at

This entry was posted in April/May 2019, Columns, Columns, Wisconsin Aeronautics Report and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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