Joe Wheeler Named Executive Director at Tupelo Regional Airport

Courtesy of Tupelo Airport Authority

The Tupelo Airport Authority (TAA) Board of Directors on March 4 announced Joseph Wheeler as its new Executive Director, following an intensive nationwide search. Wheeler has 15 years of airport experience throughout the country. He currently works as the Airport Director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission in Galliano, LA. He will take over as the TAA Executive Director on April 1, 2021.

“The Board of Directors of the Tupelo Airport Authority is pleased to announce that Joe Wheeler will be our new Executive Director,” says Eric Gibens, TAA’s Board Chair. “We interviewed several top candidates located throughout the Southeast, and we found the best for Tupelo. The Board is impressed with Joe’s experience in airport operations and property management and his history as a pilot. Joe is motivated by success, and the Board is confident that his leadership will strengthen our airport’s positioning for the future. I am excited for everyone in Tupelo and the area to get to meet him.”

The TAA Board, composed of business and community leaders, worked hand-in-hand with The PACE Group, a leading executive search firm. A top-notch pool of candidates was developed, and finalists were interviewed by the Board over the last several weeks. Cliff Nash, the previous TAA Executive Director, retired November 30, 2020, after 5 1/2 years with the organization. The TAA Board membership consists of Gibens, Trice Webb, Bryan Hawkins, Scott Reed and Steve McAlilly.

After he was informed of Wheeler’s acceptance of the position, Mayor Jason Shelton of the City of Tupelo announced, “We are excited to welcome Joe Wheeler on board. His education, experience and knowledge of this region will enable Tupelo Regional Airport to continue providing excellent service to Northeast Mississippi as its main transportation hub.”

Mr. Wheeler holds a Bachelor of Commercial Aviation and a Master of Commercial Aviation, both from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. He is rated as a Commercial/Instrument Pilot and is a Certified Flight Instructor as well as an Instrument Instructor. Wheeler also holds certifications from several additional aviation, commerce, safety and operational organizations.

Prior to joining Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Wheeler served for four years as the Executive Director of Houma Terrebonne Airport Commission in Houma, LA, and two years as Airport Manager for the City of Stevens Point, WI. He also served an earlier term with Greater Lafourche Port Commission as Airport Manager. Wheeler went to Wisconsin after beginning his career in aviation as a technician in Greenville, MS, contract pilot for the University of Mississippi in Oxford and flight instructor in Cleveland, MS. Wheeler has served his entire career in aviation.

“My wife and I look forward to starting this new adventure in the Tupelo area. We are deeply humbled to become a part of the community,” says Wheeler, adding, “Working with the TAA Board has been an absolute pleasure, and I look forward to continually working with the board for many years come.”

The new TAA Executive Director will head up efforts to increase operational efficiency at the airport as well as encourage and support the economic growth of the Tupelo region. He will focus on developing and implementing TAA’s development marketing program, building relationships with commercial airlines, pilot recruitment, property management and community engagement.