YVRA manager list narrowed

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Routt County has narrowed its list of candidates to become the new manager of Yampa Valley Regional Airport to five.

Those five candidates -- two from California, two from Illinois and one from Idaho -- will be interviewed in Routt County on Friday, Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

The county received 49 applications for the position after it opened in March. The opening was created when Aviation Director Jim Parker was asked to resign.

Parker's last day on the job will be Friday.

The county hopes to have a new manager hired by the first of September.

"If all goes well, we hope to offer the job on Friday," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said although the hiring process will not look specifically at creating a new joint managerial position for YVRA and the city-owned Steamboat Springs Airport, it also will do nothing to preclude that from happening.

The Yampa Valley Airport Commission will look more closely at creating a joint managerial position in the months to come, Sullivan said. He said a joint manager also was discussed when the city decided to hire Mel Baker, a 14-year veteran at the Steamboat Springs Airport, as the manager for the strictly general-aviation airport.

The hiring of an airport manager for YVRA comes at a time when the county is spending millions of dollars in expanding and upgrading the airport.

Sullivan said the finalists all have at least 15 years of airport manager or aviation director experience.

"All of them have a lot of experience in airport management ... and development projects, which is important to us," Sullivan said.

The interview committee is composed of nine people: Sullivan; Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond; Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall; Steamboat Springs City Manager Paul Hughes; City Councilwoman Kathy Connell; Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison; Airport Commission Chairman Marty Kolonel; owner of Spectrum Jet Center Inc. Jane Harelik; and Routt County Personnel Director Chris Hensen.

County officials have said the airport manager would take on new responsibilities beyond the aviation director position.

The aviation director had to be able to manage operations, maintenance and development of YVRA, work on aviation activities, serve as a liaison at all levels related to aviation issues and coordinate aviation needs.

The airport manager will need to do all of that, plus be responsible for overall leadership and management of airport business functions and ensure there is communication and coordination between the aviation and operator activities and the airport and community stakeholders. The airport manager also needs to provide recruitment, conflict resolution and guidance for the airport, evaluate staff performance and take the initiative to resolve organizational and community issues related to the airport.

Between Parker's absence and the arrival of a new airport manager, Ann Copeland, who is manager of the terminal operations, will be responsible for oversight of day-to-day operations.

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