Daniel F. Moats, a former member of the Leesburg Executive Airport Commission, died Monday after having a heart attack following a workout at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center. He was 51.
Moats was appointed to the commission in 1994 and was reappointed twice before he stepped down in 2002. Moats, who was born in Grafton, W.Va., served as a captain in the Air Force. He was an accomplished pilot and had recently been awarded a "multi-engine rating" -- essentially, a civilian license to fly a larger aircraft than the single-engine planes he had been flying.
He was also a successful businessman who had been vice president at technology companies Unisys and Electronic Data Systems Corp., where he had responsibility for business with governments around the world. He began work as executive vice president of Toth Financial Advisory Co., an investment firm in Leesburg, on April 1.
"He was a computer wizard. He was a business wizard. He was motivated, and he understood how to put together business plans," said Stanley F. Caulkins, who served with Moats on the airport commission. "It's a shame that he had to go so soon. He had so many dreams."
Moats, who lived in Leesburg, was an elder at Leesburg Presbyterian Church and volunteered yearly with Christmas in April to help repair seniors' homes.
"He would try to help you in any way that he could," said Steve Hutchens, a former fellow commission member, business colleague and Moats's flight instructor. Hutchens recalled that Moats would serve as a mentor to young executives when he observed their potential business acumen. "He had a very giving spirit," Hutchens said.
Even after retiring from the airport commission, Moats continued to advocate for airport safety and an instrument landing system at Leesburg Executive Airport. Earlier this year, he spoke before the Town Council about the risks of charging rents at the new Stanley F. Caulkins Terminal at the airport that he feared could be too high.
"He was one of those dynamic guys with tremendous vision," said former Leesburg mayor B.J. Webb, a family friend. She said the new terminal would not have been possible without Moats's involvement. "He just wanted things to get done and be done well."
At the terminal's dedication ceremony last month, it was Moats who introduced Caulkins, highlighting the honoree's role while omitting his own contributions toward bringing the project to fruition.
The complex, which includes 5,554 square feet of leasable space for flight schools, aircraft sales companies and fuel suppliers, is expected to significantly upgrade the airport and help make it profitable.
"He's the type of individual who would not have taken any credit for it," said Leesburg Town Council member Robert J. "Bob" Zoldos.
Moats is survived by his wife, Peggy, of Leesburg; daughters Kristin and Heidi of Leesburg; sister Martha McConnell of Fairmont, W.Va.; and brother Douglas Moats and mother Helen L. Moats, both of Grafton, W.Va. Services were scheduled to have been held Saturday. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Dan Moats Memorial Fund, c/o Janet Underwood at James Monroe Bank, 606 S. King St., Leesburg, Va. 20175.