By Jackie Trier
Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:08 AM EST
Robert “Bobby” Beem is a licensed pilot, but this week he is a driver for the Indiana Junior Miss contestants. Beem went to school to be an aircraft mechanic, and he started working for Montgomery Aviation in 2002 and now serves as the facility’s manager. “This has been my lifetime career,” Beem said.
Since school, Beem has become a multi-engine rated pilot, and he volunteers in the community often.
In 2005, Montgomery Aviation contracted to take over Frankfort airport. “I moved up here and I started getting involved in the community,” Beem said.
Through the Frankfort Jaycees, Beem has wrapped gifts for holiday helpers, hosted a Halloween party for Abilities Services, set up a health fair, helped get pets vaccinated at discounted rates, arranged a fish fry, and chaired the Frankfort fireworks program. “I spend a lot of time with that service organization,” Beem said. He certified in pyrotechnics safety for the fourth of July.“It one of the largest hand fire programs in the state,” Beem said.
He even was president of the Jaycees in 2008.Beem does mostly administrative work now through the airport. “I am the operations manager for the company,” Beem said. “I make schedules and basically all the management (duties).” Montgomery Aviation has two students that are still in high school through the learn to fly program. “We started a pilots’ club, and they fly in here annually on Armed Forces Day,” Beem said.
A state funded program, Beem helps out with the college accredited aviation program in conjunction with Frankfort High School through his work. Six students were accepted to Purdue University last year with aviation credits through Montgomery Aviation and the high school.
The Young Eagles Program, sponsored by the Learning Network, is also run through the airport. Pilots in the area including Beem take children up for their first flight in an airplane, and Montgomery Aviation provide some fuel. “We will take 20 to 30 kids up,” Beem said. “There were 22 kids last time.”
Beem helps out with a lot of the after-hours services that the airport offers as well. He is on call to answer the phone and go back to work to help fuel medical helicopters at any time of the night. The airport becomes very busy during crop dusting season.
Beem is putting down roots in Frankfort. “I met a lot of long-term friends through the Jaycees,” Beem said. “I actually met me fiancé, Nikki (Stock), through Tri Kappa.”Tri Kappa is a women’s service organization that collaborates with the Jaycees, a men’s service organization.
He will be getting married to his fiancé and long time friend next Labor Day weekend. In the summer time, Beem sails his boat with friends when he is not at the airport. Beem wants to remind all members of the community that the airport is there for them.