Forefathers of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

Courtesy photo Pictured left to right, Colorado Division of Aeronautics Director David Ulane, Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, Colorado State Sen. Lewis Entz, and Colorado Aeronautical Board Chair Kent Holsinger pose for a photo on June 6, when Romer and Entz were awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Colorado Aeronautical Board.

Valley’s Entz and former Gov. Romer honored by CAB

WATKINS – The visionaries behind the creation of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics were honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Colorado Aeronautical Board (CAB) for their crucial roles in its establishment. Colorado’s 39th Governor, Roy Romer, and former Colorado State Senator Lewis Entz received their awards on Thursday, June 6, during a ceremony at the Colorado Airport Operator’s Association (CAOA) Spring Conference.

Entz, 92, served 14 years as county commissioner for Alamosa, followed by 16 years as a house representative (1983-1998). During his first eight years, a new law set term limits. He served a full eight-year second term, and then he spent another six years in the Senate (2001-2006). Entz was born in Monte Vista and currently resides in Hooper. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1951-53.

On May 24, 1988, on the tail of Senator Entz’s aircraft, Colorado Gov. Romer signed House Bill (HB) 88-1250 into law, leading to the creation of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics under Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S) 43-10. This legislation marked a significant milestone in Colorado’s aviation history, particularly with the creation of the Colorado Aviation Fund and the Colorado Discretionary Aviation Grant Program (CDAG). Funded by aviation fuel sales taxes, the CDAG Program has contributed over $1 billion to the Colorado Aviation System.

Since its inception, the Division has been essential in developing, maintaining, and enhancing Colorado’s aviation system. It oversees various critical initiatives, including funding airport improvements, promoting aviation education, and enhancing the safety and economic viability of the Colorado Aviation System.

“Governor Romer and Senator Entz came from different political parties, but they worked together to promote and protect aviation and airports for the good of all Coloradans”, said CAB Chair Kent Holsinger.

Romer, a licensed pilot for 70 years, served as Colorado’s Governor from 1987 to 1999. He frequently used his personal aircraft for business, demonstrating his advocacy for aviation and his vision to improve Colorado’s infrastructure, with aviation as a key element.

Sen. Entz, the bill’s sponsor, was also a licensed pilot. He represented Colorado’s rural communities and had a personal connection to small rural airports. His legislative vision supported both large busy airports and small rural airports, which are vital to their communities. He is also a member of the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.

Today, the Colorado Airport System includes 76 public-use airports, with 14 offering scheduled air service. According to the 2020 Colorado Aviation Economic Impact Study, Colorado airports support 345,661 jobs, generating $16.2 billion in annual payroll and $48.6 billion in total annual business revenue.