Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson on Friday named four appointees to the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority and Gov. Mike Pence appointed an authority president, calling on them to build on the work of the previous board.
Under legislation passed in the previous session of the Indiana General Assembly the terms of the current board expire Saturday and the new appointees officially take up their posts the next day.
“These appointments before the deadline demonstrate how excited we are for this new board to hit the ground running,” the mayor said in announcing her appointments in person at the airport administration building.
Pence appointed Hobart-based Luke Oil Co. President Tom Collins Sr. head of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Board.
"With nearly 30 years of firsthand economic development experience in northwest Indiana, Tom Collins Sr. has the skills and unique perspective necessary to lead the Gary/Chicago International Airport Board," Pence said in a statement. "Under his leadership, I am certain the board will ensure quality service and operation of the airport for Hoosier taxpayers in the region for years to come."
The mayor's four appointees to the seven member board are James Cooper, Michael Doyne, Shontrai Irving and Alesia Pritchett. The mayor also announced Denise Dillard as the appointee of the Lake County Board of Commissioners.
Cooper is a vice president and account manager at JP Morgan Chase, in Chicago.
Doyne is president of Doyne's Marine Inc. in Portage and a Gary resident. Doyne previously served on the Airport Authority from 2004 to 2009.
Irving is an attorney at State Farm Insurance in Crown Point.
Pritchett is director of business services and grant management for the School City of Hammond.
Dillard is vice president of government and external affairs at Methodist Hospitals.
Gov. Mike Pence and Porter County also have two appointments to make to the Airport Authority Board.
Pence on Wednesday said he will appoint someone to the authority in the coming weeks and was conferring closely with other appointing authorities on doing that. It is not known if Porter County will reappoint current member Nikki Thorn or someone new.
The board could have important work to do as soon as its next meeting Sept. 9.
The committee overseeing the drive for forming a public-private partnership for managing the airport and developing its real estate holdings will be approving recommendations on next steps to the airport authority next week.
The committee has received proposals from 10 groups wanting to take part in some part of either managing the airport or developing real estate or both.
Committee Chairwoman Carrie Hightman said the committee will spend a week evaluating all the proposals and it is possible it could recommend a number for further negotiations at its Sept. 6 meeting. Those recommendations will be forwarded to the authority for approval.
The committee also discussed a draft appraisal of airport property it received that puts the replacement value of the airport at $288 million and its depreciated functional value at $159 million.
“Really the purpose of the appraisal was to shed some light for the board and the incoming board and this committee to understand the value of the asset we have,” committee member Harley Snyder said.