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Steve Israel retires after 25 years with Schenectady County Airport

Improvements made under Israel include the installation of fencing on the airport's boundary; removing wires on the runway approach; taxiway, runway and ramp rehabilitation; an improved security system for gates and alarms; an automatic weather observation system and more. He was also one of the people who started the Empire State Aerosciences Museum, which is located right next to the airport.

Now that all is said and done, Israel, at age 82, is ready for a break, but it's not going to be an easy transition.

"I miss the contact with the pilots and the people who worked at the airport, and the challenge of getting another grant to do something else at the airport," said Israel, but added, "I'm not looking for another job, no " I don't think so."

Israel will be missed by his co-workers.

"It was great, a great experience " he's a wonderful guy to work for," said Mike Schadewald, the Schenectady County Air Traffic Controller and airport operations coordinator. "He was always innovative in his ideas and he always came up with ideas for the county to utilize the airport as best they could."

Whether it was bringing in air shows, community events, car shows or carnivals, Schadewald said Israel tried to integrate the airport into the community.

Schadewald said Israel remains a fixture at the airport, almost as a necessity. "It's like withdrawal almost for him. He comes in and says 'Hi' once in a while, but he has to shift gears a little bit and enjoy himself. He can't work all the time."

Israel isn't working all the time, but he's still keeping busy " it seems to be in his nature. "I still have one airplane. I'm still doing a little bit of instruction and doing check rides " I flew yesterday," he said.

While he isn't flying himself across the country, Israel said he still enjoys traveling and flying, no matter the time, the distance, or if other people are piloting the plane.

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