Gary airport puts out help wanted sign for director

2013-05-17T14:30:00Z 2013-05-17T18:00:07Z Gary airport puts out help wanted sign for directorBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

Gary/Chicago International Airport is advertising nationwide for an airport executive director as the airport prepares for some of the biggest changes in its history.

The job opening is posted at industry trade organizations such as the American Association of Airport Executives, and the airport authority hopes to have all the applications it needs by the June 13 filing deadline, according to Silas Wilkerson, an airport authority member who chairs its personnel committee.

The airport currently has just one airline, Allegiant, which flies twice a week to Orlando/Sanford International Airport. It also is preparing to seek a public-private partnership with investors willing to sink a minimum of $100 million into the airport.

"We need someone who is knowledgeable about public-private partnerships; someone who has airline recruitment skills," Wilkerson said. "There are a lot of needs to be met."

The airport hopes to have a new executive director on board by Sept. 1, Wilkerson said.

At a meeting in late April, the airport authority approved paying $30,000 to ADK Executive Search, of Atlantic Beach, Fla., to perform the nationwide search for an airport executive director.

The airport is now racing to finish expanding its main runway to 8,900 feet from its current 7,000 feet by year's end. The project has been ongoing for more than six years and will cost an estimated $166 million.

The new airport director would oversee a staff of 17 employees and manage a $3.8 million annual budget. Some of the director's duties could depend on what kind of public-private partnership, if any, the airport authority forms with private investors.

The starting salary is in the range of $110,000 to $130,000, including an excellent fringe benefit package, according to the airport's job posting.

The airport has not had a permanent director since Chris Curry left the Gary airport in September 2010 to take a job overseeing three airports for the Collier Airport Authority, in Naples, Fla.

Curry's then-deputy, Steve Landry, has since been filling in since as interim director. When asked on Friday if he had applied for the executive director's job, Landry said it would not be appropriate for him to answer.

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