Bob Hallmark KLTV
Air Force veteran shares his journey to become East Texas airport manager
December 9, 2023
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  • The manager of an East Texas airport continues his love of flight and fulfills his desire to serve, as a member of the Air Force Reserves.

    He’s a man who says, “If you just keep trying, good things happen!”

    Max Tovar has been the manager of East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County for about six months. He’s also Master Sergeant Max Tovar of the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

    “This is TDY. It’s extended duty: one weekend a month, 15 days out of the year,” Max said from his Air Force training location in Nevada.

    After joining at 18, he’s become a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, working in aviation maintenance.

    “Basically, an aircraft mechanic or maintainer, I was with A-10s,” he said.

    Once Tovar left active duty and entered the reserves, he sought education in the same field, eventually attending LeTourneau University and studying aerospace engineering.

    “I’ve worked hard but never really known where it would go. My initial goal was to become an airline pilot,” Tovar said.

    Tovar’s dedication to service led him to a job that was unexpected, but one for which he was eminently qualified.

    Through a series of events, he applied for the airport manager’s job at East Texas Regional, and he got it.

    “There are not a lot of these positions available. It was an, ‘Oh boy, that’s awesome,’ but also, ‘Oh boy, there’s more to it.’ It’s a little bit of everything: everything from a bolt on a taxiway light to grant money of millions of dollars,” Tovar said.

    He feels his military discipline and knowledge help him with the job.

    “It’s a new mission, I guess: to serve and serve others. It’s not the destination; it’s the journey,” he said.

    But, Tovar will not be a master sergeant in the Air Force Reserves for much longer. He said shortly he will receive a commission as an officer in the reserves.