Omaha Airport Authority

  • 01 Sep 2015 23:20

Eppley, Nebraska's largest airport, is located four miles northeast of Omaha at the geographic center of the United States

Each year, almost 4 million people flow through the 368,000 square feet Eppley Airfield terminal building. Eppley, Nebraska's largest airport, is located four miles northeast of Omaha at the geographic center of the United States.

These days, Eppley draws attention to itself from federal aviation security officials who are interested in the results of Eppley's recent $1.7 million electronic security system overhaul.

Eppley is owned and managed by the Omaha Airport Authority (OAA). After a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, including participation in President Kennedy's ambitious but short-lived moon base program, Ralph Holtmann came to the OAA in 1989 to assume the position of Planning and Engineering Director. Holtmann's wide ranging responsibilities included the OAA's security programs. In 1990, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations sent Holtmann in search of technology solutions that would enable the OAA to comply with new security regulations.

His search would lead him to Tom Hruby, then security engineer and now executive vice president of Security Equipment Inc (SEI). After evaluating the limited number of electronic access control systems available at the time, Holtmann gave Hruby the approval to begin installation of a UNIXbased access system that used magnetic stripe cards.

"The system was very limited and required us to purchase a variety of other products to do things, like badging and file sharing, that the access control system could not," recalls Hruby.

While much of the rest of the airport was updated over the years, Holtmann and his team at the OAA managed to get by with the system with help from Hruby and SEI systems engineer, Thor Lyons. That was before September 11.

"9/11 forced us to rethink and to look at what we were doing," said Holtmann. "We knew we had to radically increase our ability to monitor the airport."

Download the full case study: Omaha Airport Authority

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