Lydia Werner, Aviation Planner

Lydia Werner
Aviation Planner at Mead & Hunt, Inc.


What do you do as an Aviation Planner?

I assist in preparing long-term planning documents for federally funded airports. I inventory existing conditions, prepare operations and based aircraft forecasts, assist in developing landside and airside alternatives, and a variety of other tasks. I do other aviation-related work for airports including airport zoning, Airport Layout Plans (ALPs), and a variety of other tasks. I specialize in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for aviation planning including FAA Airports GIS, zoning, ALPs and much more.


How does an Aviation Planner make a difference in the world? 

I help airports plan for the future and ultimately plan for a more safe and efficient operating environment.


What are the typical employers/industries and that need Airport Planners?

Our firm works in many different areas including the public, private, and government sectors. We have offices all over the country and are headquartered in Middleton, WI.


Educational Qualifications – What do you typically need to enter and/or be successful in this career?

Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation (Airport Management), Urban Planning or related degree and/or work experience. I entered this position with a degree in Airport Management and experience in Airport Operations/Maintenance in addition to having worked for the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. I have coworkers who’s backgrounds are in Urban Planning which is also valuable education to have.

And be willing to learn a lot of aviation industry lingo!


What do you think youth should do to prepare for a career like this?

Diversify your education. By that, I mean that do not just take classes for your degree. Consider a specialization or a minor related to the field you would like to obtain a position in. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I enrolled in a graduate certificate program for GIS as I knew that the skills would be valuable in future positions and it paid off.


What do you feel the job outlook is for Airport Planners?

The job outlook is promising. Transportation infrastructure is receiving more federal funding which is key in the planning practice. Air carriers are continuing to set new passenger enplanement records which is driving short and near term capitol improvements.


Please share any personal reflections on this career.

I love my career as aviation is constantly changing and I find so much variety in my work. I have the freedom to take on projects that I have a personal interest in and that turn into the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m currently working on a master plan for one of the most famous General Aviation airports in the country: KOSH! This airport hosts the world-famous EAA AirVenture every July. I can’t believe I get paid to visit the airport!