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Former Santa Monica Airport Manager Settles in at New Job

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

July 18, 2013 -- Less than a month after he retired as manager of Santa Monica Airport (SMO), Bob Trimborn is back at work in the aviation industry, only this time for the private sector.

After Trimborn left his post at SMO on July 1, he signed on as director of business development with Santa Monica-based American Airports Corporation, one of the largest airport management companies in the nation.

“I enjoy working here,” Trimborn said. “Right now I'm learning the company and their business model.” He added that he had only been at the job a few weeks.

American Airports Corporation, which is the contractor that manages much of the L.A. County airport system, specializes in streamlining operations at general aviation airports throughout the country.

Trimborn got his start managing his hometown airport in Hawthorne, California in the 1980s and with more than 30 years of experience managing airports, he doesn't anticipate too rough a transition to his new post.

While the job will likely present him with a whole host of different challenges, they will likely not top some of those he faced as manager of SMO, including monitoring noise levels at the airport that has one of the strictest noise ordinances in the nation.

During his tenure, the City took the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to court in order to keep jets off SMO's runway, which ends only several hundred feet from residences.

Trimborn supported the City's 2008 effort against the FAA, citing safety concerns. He argued that the 1940s-era runway wasn't built to handle modern jets and the proximity of homes to the runway made accidents potentially more dangerous.

The City eventually lost that battle and the $1.4 million it spent during litigation.

When Trimborn stepped down earlier this month, he told The Lookout that he didn't know where the future would take him.

But a long-standing friendship with top brass at American Airports Corporation led to him getting his new position, Trimborn said.

“I've known the owner for many, many years,” he said.

Trimborn's new job is more than just a simple career shift, though. It marks the end of 40 years working in the public sector.

“It's interesting to come back to the private sector,” Trimborn said.

The last time he worked for a private company was when he was fresh out of college. At the time, he worked for a hospital in Downtown Los Angeles to fund his burgeoning career in aviation.

As business development director, Trimborn will help add to American Airports Corporation's already robust customer base.

“It's different than going to the airport everyday,” said Trimborn, who has admitted having a fascination with the history of the nearly-century old airfield.

Still the new job will allow him to work within an industry that has been a part of his life since he began flying at the age of 14.

“It seems to be a natural fit,” Trimborn said.

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