Steamboat Springs Eight people from Routt and Moffat counties with an interest in aviation issues will join the three remaining members of the Yampa Valley Regional Airport Advisory Board.
The Routt County commissioners appointed the 11-member panel on Tuesday, saying they looked for residents who would represent a broad range of viewpoints.
Local residents named to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport advisory board are listed below, with reappointees designated by an 'x': Rick Akin, Natalie Alden, Chuck Grobe, Warren Harner, Joe Janosec-x, Tim Johnson, Gordon Jones-x, Marty Kolonel, Sharon Nereson, Ulrich Salzgeber-x, Andy Wirth
"We're reconstituting the board, putting it back together in conjunction with the update of the Airport Master Plan," County Commissioner Dan Ellison said. "We tried to select people in business who rely on the airport or are users of the airport in either commercial or general aviation."
The new board will also set the priority for any improvement projects needed at the Hayden airport, which serves Routt and Moffat counties.
Gordon Jones and Ulrich Salzgeber were reappointed to the airport advisory board, as was Moffat County Commissioner Joe Janosec.
Two men with tourism and marketing backgrounds, Andy Wirth and Tim Johnson, were also appointed.
County officials said representation from the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. was crucial to the success of the airport advisory board. Wirth, who will replace Rod Hanna when he retires as senior vice president of marketing next month, is a valuable addition to the board because of ski corp.'s access to customer research and airline data.
Wirth said his primary focus will be how efficiently the board can improve the airport.
"From ski corp.'s perspective, the long-term success of the ski area depends on the nonstop air program that we contract for every year with the support of the lodging committee, other businesses and the city," Wirth said. "The airport facility is a big part of that. It dictates what type of planes can land there, how customers are treated when they land, how they are transported once they get on the ground, how they get their baggage. There's room for improvement."
Tim Johnson is director of marketing at Steamboat Resorts, co-chair of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's marketing committee and the owner of a small ranch in west Routt County.
"The airport is the lifeline of our community, regardless of whether tourism drives our economy. More people are working from homes with e-commerce and the community is growing," Johnson said.
Johnson said he's excited about working on one of the first projects for the new group a redesign of the airport terminal. The county has hired the architectural firm of Edward Just Associates to complete that design.
"A tourist's first and last impression is our airport, and I don't think the infrastructure is sufficient to handle the volume during the peak times," Johnson said.
The airport advisory board's efforts will help the entire county, not just Steamboat Springs, Johnson said.
"I'm hoping because of the larger board bringing in different views, we can bring some good balance to the commissioners when they make their decisions," Johnson said.
Before starting any projects, Johnson said the new members on the advisory board need to get acquainted with airport issues.
"It's time for this group to do their homework. It's important to get the whole board up to speed so we can go in with a balanced direction," Johnson said.
Another new member to the board is Craig City Councilwoman Natalie Alden, who said she's interested in exploring transportation issues in Routt and Moffat counties.
"I want to see expansion of the airport so that more residents can utilize it," Alden said.
County officials said 17 people applied for a seat on the board, which hasn't scheduled its first meeting.
Airport advisory boards have struggled in the past with wanting to have more authority, but Wirth said that's not a burning issue for him right now.
"It was a different political climate then. We've got a great relationship between the city and the county right now," Wirth said. "I'm optimistic about what we can accomplish."
Local residents named to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport advisory board are listed below, with reappointees designated by an 'x':
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