Tidd said the GRA’s two biggest successes were the negotiation of the no cost transfer of 800 acres from the Department of Defense to the community and the successful negotiation of the Joint-Use Agreement for civil aviation use of the runway.
“Both of these were monumental to the development of Grissom,” he said.
Other successes, he noted, were the expansion of Armor Eckrich and the “vision and cooperation to establish the new MCEDA, which streamlined operations, reduced cost and centralized ED activities countywide.” (Full disclosure: I signed that agreement as president of the P-MCEDC at the time.)
Tidd cited the Hangar 200 project, which led to Dean Baldwin Painting, as the MCEDA’s major accomplishment thus far.
MCEDA has also sold or leased land or buildings at the Aeroplex to some 40 new businesses, Tidd said, adding: “Approximately 70 percent of the land/buildings that was declared excess to the [Department of Defense] is in some type of reuse.”
Tidd is very familiar with those buildings, thanks to a 23-year Air Force career whose roots grew out of circumstances in West Virginia, where he was born and raised.
He was the only child of Homer R. and Helen M. Tidd. His dad was a steelworker for 46 years; his mother worked in a paper factory before becoming a stay-at-home mom.
His parents could not afford to send him to college in 1971, when the draft was in place, Tidd said. Based on his birth date, his draft number was 3. So he enlisted in the Air Force with a good friend.
“I stayed in for 23 years based out of love and service to our country,” Tidd said. “Grissom was my best assignment.”
Along the way, Tidd managed to get a college education. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in management from Indiana Wesleyan.