Woman at helm of NJ airport for 18 years

EWING, NJ (CHASING NEWS) --  Women have been involved in aviation since its earliest days, from E. Lilian Todd, who designed and built her first aircraft in 1906, to Blanche Noyes, who in 1930 took John D. Rockefeller Jr. on his first flight.  

But, according to a 2015 Federal Aviation Administration report, women pilots represent only 6 percent of the total pilot population and women in aviation who aren't pilots represent only 25 percent of the total aviation workforce.

Meet Melinda Montgomery, who for 18 years has managed the Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing, NJ.

She said the job isn't as aviation-specific as one might think. "It's got elements of aviation to it ... but really it's 1,345  acres of a small city," Montgomery said. 

The runways are her highways, the taxiways are her side streets and her Fortune 50 hangar tenants -- like Johnson & Johnson -- are her residents.

Montgomery said when she was in school she ruled out being a pilot and thought she would become an air traffic controller. But a teacher steered her into an internship in airport management.

She noted that a lot of pilots are close to retirement, creating opportunities for new talent.

"We need qualified people regardless of gender," Montgomery said. "If we can expose more women to an industry that traditionally doesn't make itself available to women, then that's a good thing, too."

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