Airport manager in the works

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The Yampa Valley Regional Airport is set to hire a new manager.

County and airport officials have offered the position to Cmdr. David Ruppel, executive officer of the Naval Air Station near Atlanta.

Routt County Commissioners will vote today whether to approve an $83,907 annual salary for Ruppel, who was offered the job Friday, the day after he and three others were interviewed, County Manager Tom Sullivan said Monday.

"I'm really excited," Sullivan said. "He is a really personable guy, really knowledgeable and really intelligent."

Ruppel, second in command of the air station, has more than 20 years experience in the Navy, Sullivan said. If he accepted the position, he would be expected to start Monday.

The county began looking for a new airport manager after Aviation Director Jim Parker was asked to resign in March.

Sullivan said the airport manager would be expected to take on more duties than the aviation director, who mostly worked on matters such as grant administration, capital planning and operations management.

The airport manager also would focus on aspects of business management, such as growing the airport as a business.

The hiring process, which included interviewing four candidates out of dozens of applicants, comes at a time when the county is spending millions of dollars to expand and upgrade the airport.

Ruppel was a solid choice, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

"I felt we had some good candidates," Ellison said. "He should fit into the position very well for us, and we're looking forward to having him on board."

Ruppel is married and has four school-age children, Sullivan said.

The committee that interviewed candidates last week was made up of nine people: Sullivan; Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.; Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association; George Krawzoff, Steamboat Springs' director of transportation services; Kathy Connell, member of the Steamboat Springs City Council; Dan Ellison; Marty Kolonel, airport commission chair; Jane Harelik, owner of Spectrum Jet Center; and Chris Hensen, Routt County personnel director.

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