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Who will be the airport's next leader?

Hank Hayes • Dec 22, 2018 at 8:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Three candidates are in line to become the next executive director at the Tri-Cities Airport, according to airport legal counsel Bill Bovender.

“I am not in a position to discuss the candidates,” Bovender said. “We are about ready, however, to release some information about the candidates to be interviewed.”

Airport Authority commissioners voted in September to hire an executive search firm to find a successor to Patrick Wilson, who left to take over the main leadership role at Knoxville’s McGhee-Tyson Airport.

ADK Consulting and Executive Search, a firm that specializes in serving the aviation industry, was chosen to lead the hiring process.

In October, commissioners appointed airport Director of Operations David Jones as interim executive director. Jones had previously served as interim executive director in 2013.

At that October meeting, Jones would not say whether he would be a candidate for the job.

He still isn’t saying if he is a candidate. Last week, he said in an email: “I would rather not say either, until the short list is made public. That’s as good a non answer as I can probably give today.”

Interviews are scheduled to take place Jan. 7, 2019 in the Nolichucky Room at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center.

“All members of the (Airport Authority) board will be participating. That room has an interesting V-shaped table, which allows you to put the candidate at the V itself,” Bovender pointed out. “We’ll put the five members of the (search) committee closest to the candidate and let everyone else fill in.”

The plan is to interview the candidates that day and then deliberate to make a decision that day. The interviews and deliberations will be public.

Jones over his 12-year career at the airport has been directly involved in numerous capital projects, such as taxiway extensions and the renovation of general aviation partner Tri-Cities Aviation and Aerospace Park. He does grant writing and planning. He came to the airport after serving 11 years as engineering and environmental manager for McGhee-Tyson Airport. Jones also worked in Knoxville with Vaughn and Melton Engineers and Architects.

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