Official Nebraska Government Website
Official Nebraska Government Website

NDOT, Division of Aeronautics
Mr. Ronnie Mitchell, Director

Transparency Portal Logo - Budget Division

Ralph B. Holtmann was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 6, 1936. He attended school there and later traveled by subway to the Bronx to attend Manhattan College, where he graduated with a bachelor degree in civil engineering. He then received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the USAF.

In March of 1959, Holtmann entered active duty and was assigned to Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. In 1962, he was selected for an Air Force sponsored program specializing in construction of buildings and facilities in space and on the moon. The next several years were spent working with several construction squadrons in the States and a stint in Viet Nam. After Viet Nam, Holtmann was assigned to the 14th Aerospace Force in Colorado Springs where he worked with facilities throughout the world that were tasked with tracking man-made objects in space.

In 1973, Holtmann was assigned to the Headquarters of the Strategic Air Command at Offutt AFB, where he held several positions eventually being assigned to the Office of the Inspector General. Here he was charged with inspections of SAC bases for civil engineering organizations. In November 1979, Holtmann became the Base Civil Engineer at Offutt and was responsible for all facilities, including the runway, hangars, taxiways and buildings. He was responsible for the base master plan, which included converting historic base buildings for future use. These buildings were steeped in tradition and required a sensitive but practical approach. Holtmann was responsible for the planning, programming and development of one of the largest construction project, a maintenance facility to simultaneously house five specially modified RC-135 aircraft. Upon retiring from the Air Force in 1983, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his efforts. In addition to the Legion of Merit, Holtmann received two Bronze Stars, four Meritorious Service Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal, Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and numerous service and campaign medals and ribbons during his career.

Holtmann then went to work for the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics as a Senior Engineer. He provided advice on planning projects and assistance during the construction of runways, taxiways, aprons and other facilities. He was the liaison between airport sponsors, their consultants and the Federal Aviation Administration.

In 1989, Holtmann became Director of Planning and Engineering for the Omaha Airport Authority. Eppley Airfield had one Category Two ILS and two Category One ILS systems when he started work there. Eppley now has two Category Three ILS approaches and will soon have four Category One ILS approaches. Two of these were installed by the Airport Authority but transferred to the FAA for operation and maintenance because of Holtmann’s ability to ensure their development.

Approximately $110 million of federal grants for development were acquired under Holtmann’s leadership. This included a state of the art communications center with access control and closed circuit television for the entire airport, expanded cargo aprons and facilities, a maintenance complex, numerous terminal projects, runway extension and a new runway with precision instrument approaches. The initial 7000 feet of construction for the new runway was scheduled as a three year project, but due to Ralph’s communications with the FAA, the contractors and engineers, the project was completed in just two years, and within the original budget. Upon his retirement, the Board of Directors entered a resolution in the records of the Omaha Airport Authority to commend Ralph’s efforts.

Upon retirement, Holtmann accepted a part time position with Lamp, Rynearson & Associates, Inc, where he continues to provide expertise for their airport team. Ralph and his wife, Pat, have raised four children and seven grandchildren and reside in Bellvue.


Back to the Hall of Fame