Staff

Gene Cossey
Gene Cossey is the Executive Director of the University of Illinois — Willard Airport and has been with the Airport since December of 2015. Gene has worked aviation operations management since he was 19 years old and has held positons at five airports spanning over 28 years. Prior to coming to Willard Airport, Gene was the Director of Operations at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and before that he was the Director of Airside Operations at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport. Up until this point, the majority of Gene’s Career was spent on the Oregon Coast where he was the Operations Manager, Director of Information Technology at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, and Airport Director and the Newport Municipal Airport.

Gene holds a Bachelor’s degree from Linfield College in McMinnville Oregon majoring in Business Management and Information Systems Design. He also is an Accredited Airport Executive with the American Association of Airport Executives and is an International Airport Professional with the Airport Councils International. Currently, Gene is obtaining the University of Illinois Springfield’s Masters of Public Administration degree.

Gene loves outdoor activities including competing in triathlons and running events as well as riding bikes and motorcycles for pleasure. He likes to be active in the community and participates regularly in local events.

Steve Wanzek
Stephen J. Wanzek was appointed Associate Director of the University of Illinois—Willard Airport (CMI) in December 2015. Mr. Wanzek came to the airport in January 2003 and was the Airport Manager for 12 years.

Mr. Wanzek is a retired US Air Force Colonel, having served his country on active duty for over 30 years. “Colonel” Wanzek is a Command Pilot and flew a variety of trainer and cargo aircraft, including the C-141, C-5, and C-137 (Air Force 2). He was the Commander of the C-137 squadron and the Deputy Commander of the Support Group at Andrews AFB, MD; the Vice Commander of Dover AFB, DE; and the Commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment at the University of Illinois. Colonel Wanzek also had the honor of serving on President Ronald Reagan’s White House advance staff during Mr. Reagan’s second term.

Mr. Wanzek received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Nathan Lilly
Nathan Lilly is the Associate Director of Finance and Administration. Nathan is the newest member of the Willard team, joining us in March of 2017. Nathan came from Crawford, Murphy, & Tilly (CMT) where he worked as an airport consultant in finance and planning. Nathan holds a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University. In addition Nathan is an active member of the Finance and Administration Committee for the Association of Accredited Airport Executives (AAAE), and an active member of the Finance Committee for the Airport’s Council International – North America (ACI-NA).

John Riegel
John Riegel is the Airport Fire Chief. He began his work as chief in September of 2012, working as a Crash Rescue Coordinator and Specialist since 2000. John is also the interim Director of Operations, the Wildlife Hazard Coordinator, and the Airport Security Coordinator. John has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Valdosta State University. John loves spending time with his beautiful wife, Dawn, and their three wonderful boys.

Jessica Pike
Jessica Pike is the Office Manager. She began working for the University at Willard Airport in 2006 as an Office Assistant. Jessica is also part of the airport security team, the most likely face to make your airport security badge. Her favorite part about working at Willard is all the different people she gets to interact with daily. When she’s not working, she’s spending time with her husband and three children.

Teresa Adams
Teresa Adams is an Account Technician II and began working with Willard Airport in April of 2015. Prior to that time, her roles at the University consisted of working for the Office of International Programs as an Office Manager, and she began her university career working in the Office of the Provost in January 2005. Prior to working for the university, she worked in medical management for Carle for 5 years and worked 11 years as an Office Manager and Medical Transcriptionist with Crawford and Company. She is very creative, a published poet and an interior decorator, and she enjoys remodeling homes.