Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office


December 21, 2001
Sharyn Wisniewski, 267-8823
County Executive

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release December 21, 2001 Contact: Sharyn Wisniewski, 267-8823 Dane County Regional Airport Director Peter L. Drahn, AAE, announced his retirement effective January 4, 2002. Drahn served the Madison airport for 26 years; first, as Deputy Director, prior to becoming Director in 1981. Under his leadership, the airport grew enormously in both revenues generated and passenger usage. In 1981, there were 550,000 passengers arriving and departing the Dane County Regional Airport on 3 airlines. 2001 is expected to experience a passenger level exceeding 1,300,000 (a 135% increase), with 12 airlines and 2 cargo carriers. Mr. Drahn’s major accomplishment was eliminating any taxpayer support for the airport’s continuing operation. During his tenure, the airport also made tremendous strides in noise abatement; environmental remediation; air park development; airline development; crash, fire and rescue operations; developed a new air carrier runway and automobile parking structure; and replaced all airfield pavements. He was elected Chairman of the prestigious and highly respected American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) during 1997/1998. (AAAE is the world’s largest professional organization for airport executives, representing nearly 4,500 airport management personnel.) In 2001, Drahn won the AAAE Chair’s Award, recognizing him as the best airport director. Drahn is a 1964 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He retired in 1994 at the rank of brigadier general after a distinguished 30 year military career as an Air Force and Air National Guard pilot and commander. His combat decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal and seventeen Air Medals. His leadership of the airport was viewed by many of his colleagues as extraordinary in times of fiscal restraint, growing public and political demands, and increasing concerns for public safety and security. During Drahn’s directorship, he was responsible for acquiring in excess of $100 million in both state and federal grant money for the county to accommodate the airport’s growth demands. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said: “Pete Drahn was a superb Airport Director. On behalf of Dane County’s citizens, I thank him for his excellent years of service. The airport is more convenient, safer, more attractive, fiscally stronger, and more environmentally friendly and a lot of credit goes to Pete. He deserves a great retirement.” Falk will name an interim director in the near future. # # #