Aspen airport loses two administrators
October 25, 2011
ASPEN – The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is without two of its top administrators with last week’s departure of David Ulane, assistant director of aviation, and last month’s resignation of Francey Jesson, assistant director of aviation-operations.
Ulane, who had been overseeing the extension of the airport runway, resigned on Thursday, though he’d originally given two weeks’ notice and was prepared to work through Nov. 3.
“He indicated he was looking for new challenges,” said Jim Elwood, aviation director, who said he could not discuss the matter further. Ulane could not be reached for comment. In his resignation letter, he wrote: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and opportunities that have come from my six and a half years of employment with Pitkin County.”
Jesson left her post late last month to accept a position as director of operations and maintenance at Roanoke Regional Airport in Virginia. She joined the Aspen airport in August 2006.
Ulane joined the local airport as assistant aviation director in May 2005, serving as its project manager to help coordinate airport planning, environmental, engineering and construction projects.
“Obviously, Dave has done a great job for us in a lot of areas,” Elwood said Monday. “We were fortunate to have him as part of the team.”
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Elwood also offered praise for Jesson: “We were very fortunate to have her talents and skills for as long as we did.”
No decisions have yet been made about replacing the departed administrators, he said. The airport might look internally or externally to fill the posts.
Ulane’s departure came as work to lengthen the runway by 1,000 feet nears completion. The $15.4 million project began last April with the relocation of utilities. When paving is complete, possibly by next week, the runway will be 8,000 feet long.
“Our target date is around the first of November, but we’re really dependent on the weather cooperating,” Elwood said.
At present, the runway is 6,500 feet long, down from 7,000 feet to accommodate construction and maintain a safety zone at the south end. The shorter runway and loss of navigational equipment since mid-September have periodically disrupted local service by United Express. Winds and overcast skies have both caused problems in conjunction with the shorter runway and shutdown of the navigational aid, called a localizer.
The localizer has been relocated to accommodate the longer runway. It has been flight tested and could be returned to service on Friday, Elwood said.