A Lifetime in Aviation: Farewell Wayne Broadwater
By LSherie Dean, Director of Communications, Marketing & Public Relations
Jackson Municipal Airport Authority
Forty-plus years is truly a lifetime at any organization. Wayne Broadwater officially retired on Friday, August 27, 2021, as the longest tenured employee at the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA). Broadwater began working at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) at the age of 19 in the airport’s main restaurant.
“I still have my last check from that job,” says Broadwater.
After working in the restaurant, Broadwater joined the JMAA maintenance team, where he would remain a loyal and dedicated employee for over forty years.
He’s had the unique opportunity to sit front row as the aviation business and technology moved forward at JAN and at Hawkins Field Airport. Broadwater recalls the numerous facility changes at JAN to enhance the airport over the years.
“Oh, there were a lot of changes to the airport itself,” says Broadwater. “I remember the construction of the parking garage at JAN to add more parking. The lobby was updated for more space. The outside of the facility was also updated. The top floors used to be hotel rooms for airport guests, but those were remodeled and made into offices. All the HVAC units were not controlled by the technology system we use today. Part of my job was to go around to all the A/C units to program them. Now I’m able to do that from my computer.”
Facility changes weren’t the only moments he remembers. There are moments he will never forget.
“When President Ronald Reagan came to Jackson, he walked through the airport and greeted me,” shares Broadwater. “I remember when Hurricane Katrina damaged the entire roof and it had to be replaced. Also, airline equipment was damaged from the storm.”
As you can imagine, Wayne knows every inch of JAN. His job in maintenance consisted of repairing jet bridges, other facility equipment and so much more. Broadwater has been extremely beneficial in providing historical property background about the airport.
If you ask anyone who has ever worked with him, they may call him a gentle giant. His quiet and humble spirit is contagious, as he’ll meet you with a smile and never complain.
Before he retired, CEO Paul A. Brown publicly shared his appreciation to Broadwater for his years of dedication to JMAA.
“There is no doubt that over the years JMAA has benefitted from your contributions and commitment to excellence,” he stated. “We applaud your willingness to be the example in upholding the values of this organization. Your knowledge of the history of our airports is just one reason why you will always be a valuable asset to the JMAA.”