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OUR HOMETOWN: Soaring through life at Williams Lake Regional Airport

Tim Lussier has worked at the airport since 1994

Even though he is eyeing retirement, Williams Lake Regional Airport manager Tim Lussier loves his job.

“I love airport operations,” said Lussier who first arrived to work at the airport in 1994 when it was still run by Transport Canada.

“I had worked at a few airports before that and I knew that Transport Canada was going to get out of the business of operating airports,” he recalled.

His family decided to move to Williams Lake because they wanted to live in the Interior, as he was born and raised in Kamloops.

In January 1997, Transport Canada transferred the airport to the city of Williams Lake.

Lussier had the option of relocating and staying with Transport Canada, but chose to remain in Williams Lake and that is when he became the maintenance supervisor, a position he held until 2018 when he became the manager after the previous airport manager resigned.

“I said, yes, as long as I had administrative support. They gave me that and I have a great team.”

Describing the crew as exceptional, he noted they all get along well and understand their roles and responsibilities.

His first trades job was as a pipe fitter in Prince Rupert for Saanich Plumbing and Heating. From there his trade landed him positions at airports.

Looking back he has had no regrets because airports have specialized systems and he enjoys the challenge.

In the past he coached for Williams Lake Minor Hockey beginning when his son Daniel was in pee wee.

“I stayed right until the end and then Daniel and I coached together.”

His own skates are hanging up for good now, he added.

“I tried about a year and a half ago but it was time to stop.”

A proud grandpa of two, Lussier said Danny has a baby girl and his daughter Ali Lussier in Kamloops has a child as well.

His two grandkids are his fun, as well as hunting and fishing and other outdoor activities on his acreage he shares with his girlfriend who is a nurse in 100 Mile House.

“I love it,” he said of having grandchildren. “It’s a challenge and I look forward to the future. It just changes your whole life. You worry about them being healthy and then you see them eating and smiling and doing everything. It’s good.”

The 2017 wildfires were probably one of the biggest challenges he faced while working at the Williams Lake airport.

“It was a very busy and very scary year. It hit us very hard. We were prepared for it, which was a good thing.”

While the Williams Lake area was forced to evacuate, the airport crew remained as an essential service.

With more than 50 take-offs or landings per day of helicopters all hands on deck were required.

“It was a challenge. There were a lot of things that came out of the woodwork that you don’t expect, especially with so many aircraft coming in.”

Not willing to divulge a retirement date, he said he is eyeing the calendar each day.

As the upcoming fire season looms, Lussier shrugged and said nobody knows how it will unfold.

The airport looks after all the aviation fuel for the fire suppression aircraft so that is always an extra challenge.

For summer operations an additional person is hired who will start the third week of April.

For winter operations there are four on staff, including himself.

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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