Rob Ratkowski has airports in his DNA. From childhood memories of riding on the United Airlines employee shuttle with his father at LAX to his current role as Airport Director at Glacier Park International Airport, airports and air travel have always been integral in his life. With 23 years of progressively responsible experience in the airport management industry and a lifetime in aviation, Rob has the background to make a complex organization like Glacier Park International Airport tick.
However, you won’t hear Rob talk about his own accomplishments much. He would rather talk about the staff that powers Glacier Park International Airport. As Airport Director, Rob has a broad responsibility for operations at GPIA, and he is the first to say that his work would not be possible without the committed and talented staff he’s proud to lead. “Kalispell might be a close-knit mountain town but I would put our group of airport professionals against any in the country,” Rob said. “You can rest assured that you’re in good hands when you travel through our airport.”
In addition to a rich background in airport management, Rob is a member of the American Association of Airport Executives and has earned their prestigious Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) designation. Rob has also served as a past President of the Montana Airport Management Association. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from the Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Outside of work, Rob serves as a board member for the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and the Flathead County Economic Development Authority. Rob is an active volunteer with his church and enjoys flying recreationally as a private pilot. He and his family spend their free time enjoying many of the outdoor activities that Montana and the Flathead Valley have to offer.
Deputy Airport Director Ian McKay’s dedication to GPIA began in the summer of 2011, when he served as the airport’s summer intern. It was during this time he discovered his passion for the aviation industry and worked to return to Kalispell to serve his hometown community. Most importantly, McKay is responsible for the safe, efficient and continuous operation of the airport. His day-to-day roles include maintaining oversight of airport departments, personnel, equipment and the facility.
Hired in 2016, McKay has worked as an aviation planner, an airport planner, and as an operations specialist for the Fort Wayne International Airport. He is a certified pilot and has training in aircraft rescue firefighting, incident command systems, airport security, airport geographic information systems and fraud detection and prevention.
McKay is a member of the American Association of Airport Executives and has earned their prestigious Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) designation. He is currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Montana Airport Management Association.
McKay has a Master’s of Science in Aerospace from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor’s degree from Rocky Mountain College in Aviation.
As a fourth generation Montanan and a native to the area, Daniel has a great love for the Flathead Valley. Even though he has flown in and out of Glacier Park International Airport many times, he never expected this is where his career would “land”.
After graduating with a BS in Business Administration from Northwest Nazarene University and an MS in Organizational Leadership from Columbus State University, Daniel committed much of the past decade to serving his country as an officer in the US Army, leading and working with teams in some of the most challenging places in the world. During his time in the Army, Daniel served as a Company Commander, Operations Officer, and Executive Officer overseeing multinational operations, large equipment fleets, operational budgets, human resources and much more. Daniel is no stranger to demanding work or high-pressure situations. Managing a $100 million terminal expansion while maintaining an operational airport amid record-breaking travel growth is right up his alley.
In addition to his educational achievements, Daniel is an American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Certified Member (C.M.), an AAAE Airport Certified Employee (A.C.E.) and an AAAE Airport Security Coordinator.
Outside of work, Daniel, and his wife, Naomi, are “drowning in blessings”. Much of their time is spent caring for and having fun with their four small children. Favorite family activities include making music together, playing soccer on the lawn, and escaping into the woods for some rock climbing.
Hired in 2016, Director of Administration, Laurie Pein, a Montana native, brings more than 30 years of administrative experience to GPIA. Pein has developed a new filing system and has reorganized office procedures to enhance the productivity of airport staff. Whether board meeting minutes are to be taken, or visitors have questions, Pein is at the ready to lend a tenured helping hand. Pein spent much of her working life as a legal assistant and now handles all HR related functions for the Airport.
Outside of her work at the airport, Pein enjoys reading, working in her greenhouse and spending time with her family.
A jack of all trades, Darin Turner has spent the last decade maintaining GPIA’s grounds, facilities and vehicles. As the Director of Maintenance, Turner ensures the airfield, terminal, shops and tower are running properly and are cleared for takeoff. He and his staff paint runways and taxiways, care for the landscaping, and are tasked with snow removal. During northern Montana snowy months, Turner hires and oversees 25-30 seasonal workers specifically charged with addressing snow. Turner is part of, the American Association of Airport Executives and has earned their prestigious ACE Airfield Operations designation. Having had a longtime interest in aviation, Turner attends seminars to continually learn new airport trends and topics to ensure quality airport maintenance at GPIA. Turner is an avid hunter and angler, enjoying the outdoors, hiking and four-wheeling with his family.
Jennifer Donofiro is the Director of Finance for Glacier Park International Airport. She’ll tell you that means that anything with a dollar sign is part of her job- and it’s clear that she’s dedicated to keeping all those dollar signs in perfect order. Jen started working at GPIA in July 2018. Jen currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives. She previously worked in public accounting in Kalispell and Columbia Falls for well over a decade.
Managing the global accounting needs for the airport includes payables, receivables, payroll, grant management and a bevy of other tasks. “I’m the first person in this new role, and it’s been great to consolidate all the financial aspects of the airport,” Jen says.
Jen embraces her identity as a “bean-counter,” in her words, and says that some of her favorite hobbies right now are reading and learning. Helping out with grandkids takes up most of her free time, though she does offer up one curve ball.
“I sing in a rock and roll band on occasion,” Jen says with a small laugh. She knows that perhaps this doesn’t quite sync up with her bean-counter persona. Her free time outside of work is spent with family and friends. Her three kids and grandkids all live in the valley, so Jen is able to spend lots of time with them.
“I really enjoy that every day is different here,” she says. “This is a great team to be a part of.”
Chad Kim joined the GPIA team as the Airport Security Coordinator in 2022. Chad works hard to establish and maintain regulatory policy compliance and frequently coordinates with TSA to ensure security standards are met. Chad also oversees badging, which includes conducting background checks and training for individuals working for GPIA or other entities located in the airport. Chad’s favorite part of his job is meeting a variety of new people.
Chad grew up in Torrance, CA. Following high school, he attended Los Angeles Harbor College, University of Northern Colorado, and Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. He moved to the Flathead Valley in 2015 and fell in love with big sky country.
Chad says, “Growing up in a large city followed by living in a small rural farming community for college gave me two very different experiences. Montana, and specifically the Flathead Valley, have offered a combination of having all the amenities and opportunities of a modern town with a smaller, more personal community and the ability to find remote and far-off places.”
Chad has many interests, and when he is not at work he can likely be found fishing, hunting, and enjoying the endless outdoor opportunities the area has to offer.
Justin grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Following high school, he moved to Tucson where he attended the University of Arizona. He moved to the Flathead Valley in 2011 and has been in love with it ever since.
Justin has just recently joined the GPIA team, but he brings with him more than a decade of IT experience. He has a passion for technology both personally and professionally. He is continually amazed by new advancements and innovations. Though he admits it can be frustrating sometimes, Justin is motivated by the way technology can make people’s lives easier. He loves getting to the bottom of tech issues and keeping people moving forward.
Justin loves to be in the outdoors doing all of the “Montana stuff”. When he isn’t deep in the inner workings of a main frame or troubleshooting network issues, you can probably find Justin taking in a round of golf, shooting guns, or exploring one of Montana’s many hiking trails.
At every U.S. airport with airline service, there is an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) team of specially trained firefighters to handle firefighting, rescue and operational incidents of jet-sized proportions.
At Glacier Park International Airport, Fire Chief, Troy Glasman, is focused on keeping his team response-ready and at the top of their game.
“We want to be the best we can be,” says Glasman.
Glasman has been serving the Flathead Valley as an emergency responder for decades, with more than 25 years of firefighting background. A former West Valley volunteer fireman, he worked his way up to become the West Valley Fire Marshal and then moved into a position with ARFF at Glacier Park International Airport.
Keeping the GPIA ARFF team response-ready 24/7 all year round takes time and dedication. The team coordinates runway maintenance, reports on runway conditions 24/7, manages wildlife interactions at the airport (remember last year’s black bear event?), responds to emergencies at the airport, and provides mutual aid for emergencies outside the airport boundaries.
Glasman takes the ARFF role as a community resource seriously, and it’s reflected in his dedication to local partnerships.
“The airport is on the forefront of some important resources, like pushing forward a Rescue Task Force program,” Glasman says.
A Rescue Task Force is a nationally recognized model that lays a blueprint to organize, prepare and mobilize local emergency services, law enforcement, hospitals, and fire departments in a crisis.
In a rural area with many small communities, Glasman knows coordinating all these services is a challenge. “But I’m looking forward to setting up our team, and local partners, so we’re ready to go when needed,” he adds.
Glasman is part of, the American Association of Airport Executives and has earned their prestigious ACE Airfield Operations designation.
For all his clear dedication to the ARFF mission and GPIA passenger safety, Glasman does hold one thing above work.
“Family, that’s the most important thing in my life,” he says.
He and his wife came to Montana with two young children and added two more after they moved to the state. Now, Glasman enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking with his family (most recently summiting Great Northern), and spending time with his two grandchildren.
Glasman might be as smart as he is brave. When asked for his favorite spot to eat in the Valley, he immediately and confidently responded: “my wife’s kitchen.”