Last week, hundreds of people from the Tri-State area, as well as friends, family and colleagues from across the U.S. attended the funeral of Robert Holscher, executive director and chief executive officer of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International (CVG). Many recounted his greatest achievements and their fondest memories of him.
“Bob Holscher dedicated nearly 50 years of his life overseeing what is, in my view, the single largest engine that has driven the sustained economic growth we have collectively enjoyed in the Greater Cincinnati region,” said Kenton County Judge-executive Ralph Drees, who oversees the Kenton County Airport Board.
“There are an untold number of businesses that have located and expanded here, and people who have been employed in the Cincinnati region because of the growth he managed and the high level of quality he achieved at the CVG Airport,” said Doug Moormann, vice president of economic development for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
“Holscher was not only an advocate for the local airport, but for airports and aviation throughout the world,” said Larry Cox, executive director of the Memphis International Airport and one of Holscher’s lifelong friends.
Holscher was the longest-sitting executive director and CEO of a major hub airport in the U.S. and earned the respect of aviation professionals worldwide.
“Since 1975, Bob provided an inner vision that took CVG from a small local passenger airport to a major airline hub. It was Bob’s keen sense of the future of flying that helped to build partnerships with the surrounding communities and the entire Tri-State region,” says Ted Bushelman, an airport spokesman.
In building CVG, Holscher influenced the development of an entire region and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, according to H. Lawson Walker II, chairman of the Kenton County Airport Board.
“He was the architect of CVG becoming a major international gateway that brought millions of passengers and thousands of jobs to our region,” he said.
Holscher made CVG an easy fit for Delta Air Lines, according to Bushelman.
“These benefits also provided for another major success story in our state: the birth and development of Comair, possibly the first and largest regional airline facility in the world,” he said.
Bushelman said Holscher’s management style was “very much based on building a good team, gentle guidance and allowing staff to maximize and utilize their full capabilities. His straightforward, human work ethic was an example for all of us.” He noted that “his continued vision, strong leadership and management style are what created CVG as an efficient, supportive and cost-effective airport.”
Holscher, a native of Cincinnati, was 68 when he passed away. He started his career at the airport as a firefighter in 1961 and became executive director in 1975 after being promoted to fire chief and director of operations.
Dale Huber, CVG’s deputy executive director, will assume Holscher’s duties for the interim.