Cory Elijah is a shining star at Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), demonstrating unwavering dedication to the aviation industry. His remarkable journey within the aviation field is a testament to his commitment to constant improvement and making the airport environment more efficient.
Elijah’s aviation career commenced in 2018 when he joined PGD as a part-time Line Service Technician. From there, he transitioned to the Airside Operations team, and in 2021, he embarked on a new role as part of the Project Development team. His hard work and passion led him to his current position as Assistant Project Manager.
In his role, Elijah has taken the helm on several high-profile projects, including a state-of-the-art classroom-hangar facility for Charlotte County Public Schools’ A&P aircraft mechanic training program. Navigating through significant milestones with stakeholders from the airport, Charlotte Technical College, and the architecture/design firm, Elijah has displayed exceptional project management skills. He also plays a crucial role in grant applications and compliance on various projects, ensuring adherence to stringent timelines and requirements from the FAA, FDOT, and Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
Elijah has honed his expertise in all aspects of the project delivery cycle, from planning and consultant selection to design, permitting, securing project funding sources, bidding, construction administration, and project closeout. His contributions have been pivotal to the success of numerous projects, including the new PGD Air Center, Runway rehabilitation and extension, wetland mitigation, parking lot expansion, office buildouts, and planning studies.
“The first FAA grant application I completed was perhaps my most memorable achievement,” Elijah said. “I completed the grant application for PGD’s Runway 4-22 Reconstruction project, which ultimately led to almost $15 million in funding from Entitlement and Discretionary funding sources.”
Cory’s dedication extends to his continuous pursuit of knowledge and certifications critical to PGD’s growth. He has earned certifications in AAAE ACE Operations and became a FAA Non-Federal Weather Observer, reinforcing PGD’s status as a thriving GA and small-hub commercial airport. Cory’s deep understanding of PGD’s low-cost airport model drives him to seek innovative ways to enhance efficiencies, functionality, and profitability while maintaining growth.
“Being able to witness and be an integral part of the immense growth at Punta Gorda Airport has driven me to continue to work hard and excel,” Elijah said.
During his tenure in Airside Operations, Cory took the initiative to incorporate wildlife stewardship and airfield safety into capital improvement program projects. He developed an app for PGD’s Wildlife Hazard Management Program, enhancing its effectiveness and portability. This innovative app allows the Airside Operations team to update wildlife tracking data in real-time while working in the field, a testament to Elijah’s commitment to improving airport operations.
Elijah’s dedication to the aviation industry is exemplified by his journey from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program to his current role at PGD. Despite a full-time position at PGD, he is furthering his education with a degree in Science and Engineering Technology at Florida SouthWestern State College.
“In 10 years, I would like to look back at all the projects that were completed at PGD and know that I played an important part in completing them.” Elijah said.
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