Since the 1920s, Timmerman Airport (MWC) has served Milwaukee County aviation, including as the birthplace of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Formerly Curtiss-Wright Field, it was acquired by Milwaukee County in 1947. Once one of the most active airports in the state, MWC remains an important transportation asset for Milwaukee County, serving as a reliever airport for Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE), accommodating a wing of the Civil Air Patrol and offering a unique pilot training facility.
MWC is a towered airport with four runways, two paved and two turf, with the longest runway only 4,103 feet. Its terminal facilities are housed in the original hangar building, constructed in 1928 and expanded over the years.
MWC’s facilities have not kept pace with the evolution of the general aviation market, especially the business market. The airport undertook a business plan with the goal of establishing a strategic direction to revitalize MWC and better meet the needs of corporate and personal aviation. Using the information gathered through stakeholder outreach and coordination with airport staff, the airport determined its desired role is to be the premier general aviation reliever facility for Southeast Wisconsin, especially for northwest Milwaukee.
Hanson led the development of the business plan, which included stakeholder outreach and facility assessment; the identification of strategic initiatives and alternatives; a framework for a rebranding and marketing plan; and operational and financial assessments, including a 20-year profit/loss pro forma.
Hanson conducted a planning charrette, followed by stakeholder meetings at each of the key decision points. Developing MWC is challenging, because it is surrounded by existing development and, with four runways, has limited areas with allowable height for new facilities.
The project team determined the airport’s primary needs were a longer runway — up to 5,000 feet, with an instrument approach to both ends — and a new terminal offering the modern amenities expected by corporate aviation.
Hanson coordinated the runway alternatives with airport staff, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to identify the most implementable airfield option. Terminal facility alternatives included repurposing space in the terminal, adding to the terminal or developing a new, standalone terminal. Hanson also identified development sites for new corporate hangars to support MWC’s increased attractiveness to corporate aviation and developed an asset management strategy to help airport staff prioritize repairs or the replacement of older facilities to support MWC’s role as a premier general aviation facility.
The business plan Hanson developed provides MWC’s staff with a guide and supporting rationale to implement changes at MWC that will increase its value to the community.