BGSU’s Russell Mills to join federal working group on community airports

Russell Millls (BGSU photo)


With holiday travel at a fever pitch, many residents of smaller communities like Toledo must journey to airports a distance from their homes due to the lack of direct, nonstop air service to smaller, regional airports. Now the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking to help smaller communities attract and retain air service.

Dr. Russell Mills, a Research Fellow at Bowling Green State University’s Center for Regional Development and associate professor of political science, has been named to the Working Group on Improving Air Service to Small Communities of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The announcement was made Dec. 19 by Acting Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs Jenny T. Rosenberg.

“As we know here in the Toledo region, airline consolidation, pilot shortages and competition from nearby airports have drastically limited air service options at Toledo Express and other small airports across the United States,” Mills said. “Commercial air service is significant enabler of economic growth, particularly in small rural communities. I am very excited to serve on the DOT working group to assist small communities and Congress in identifying best practices in attracting and retaining sustainable air service.”

The Working Group will consist of 25 stakeholders involved in air transportation to small communities. The group will advise Congress on current and emerging priorities, issues and funding needs related to providing air service to small communities. The group’s inaugural meeting is expected to be held next month. Based on its findings, the Secretary of Transportation will issue a report to Congress by July 2017.

Mills’ research focuses on regulatory politics, especially with respect to air transportation. Before joining BGSU in 2012, he was a policy analyst with the Federal Aviation Administration. More generally, his work deals with applications of public administration theory to empirical problems.

One of his first projects with Center for Regional Development was an 18-month study of the economic impact of small, regional airports on their communities, funded by the Transportation Research Board of the Airport Cooperative Research Program. The study resulted in recommendations of strategies for retaining those regional airports.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Westminster College (Pa.) in 2005, a master of public administration from the University of Vermont in 2007, and a doctorate of political science from Kent State University in 2011. He has won numerous awards for his research and writing, as well as BGSU’s Outstanding Early Career Award.