Routt County Commissioners authorize filling position of assistant airport director
Post vacant since Dean Smith retired in Sept. 2015
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners agreed May 16 to authorize Yampa Valley Regional Airport Director Kevin Booth to fill the position of assistant airport director, which has been open since Dean Smith retired in September 2014 after nine years in the post.
The commissioners agreed Tuesday to approve advertising the position, which would include a salary range beginning at $79,456 for the post, with the potential to hire as high as $90,688 for a highly-experienced candidate.
Booth was chosen to succeed former airport director David Ruppel in December 2014.
County Manager Tom Sullivan said the emphasis on the new hire is to find someone who can help the airport take better advantage of its potential in the business development arena. Booth pointed out YVRA controls between 600 and 700 undeveloped acres at the south end of its 10,000-foot runway.
“I look out at this runway, and I see an asset with a capability that doesn’t exist a lot of places,” Booth said. “And Hayden and Moffat County have a significant skilled workforce.”
Booth, who also is active on the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association’s Economic Development Council, wants to continue to remain active in business development, he said. However, Sullivan said the new assistant director would also manage contracts with businesses already operating at the airport.
Booth said he thinks YVRA — with its large runway, which is underutilized much of the year — could attract an aviation maintenance facility or even a manufacturing business.
“I would include on the list anything having to do with aviation maintenance, including engine work — avionics, modifications to aircraft — I could see a role for that here,” Booth said. He added it’s also possible that some pilots would combine regular aircraft maintenance with a pleasure trip to the area.
While the general flying public might view YVRA as a mountain airport, it enjoys benign weather throughout much of the year, Booth said, adding the recently upgraded instrument approaches also help to make it a highly accessible airport.
“We enjoy a favorable aviation pattern — the wind blows straight down the runway, and that makes it easy to get in and out of,” Booth said.
Sullivan confirmed that when Smith left the airport almost two years ago, he and Ruppel agreed not to fill the opening for assistant director at a time when declining revenues were not fully sustaining the airport’s fund balance. Since then, the balance sheet of the airport, which is operated as an enterprise fund and is not funded by the county’s general fund budget, has grown.
Commissioners Doug Monger and Cari Hermacinski noted Monday that Booth’s original request to hire an assistant director was turned down during the budget process last year, but the current expectation is that Booth will restructure his staff around the new assistant director.
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