County names new director for airport
After five months of searching, Pitkin County has found a new airport director to replace former Director Scott Smith, who quit last May to take a job in Ventura County, Calif.
The new director, Peter Van Pelt, will start work tomorrow. He comes here from his most recent post as director of the Missoula County Airport Authority in Montana.
He takes over from interim director David Gordon, a former airport director from Jefferson County who has held down the fort at Sardy Field since May. He was offered the director’s position on a permanent basis but turned it down to return to the Front Range.
According to a statement issued by Pitkin County, Van Pelt has more than 19 years of experience in the field of aviation, as well as a degree in aviation management from Central Missouri State University and a master’s degree in business administration.
“The county is fortunate to attract an airport director of Peter’s caliber,” remarked County Manager Suzanne Konchan. “His operational expertise running airports is complemented by a strong knowledge of the airline industry. We look forward to his leadership in helping the community attract and retain strong airline industry service to Sardy Field.”
She said Van Pelt will be paid $80,000 a year – at the top end of the pay range for the position but a pay cut from his former job. Konchan said Van Pelt is accredited through the Association of Airport Executives and is acquainted with the kinds of problems he will confront in his new post.
As for Van Pelt, according to the county’s statement, he said he has “been involved with airports of almost every size and shape and I believe that I can use these experiences to bring a healthy perspective to the airport environment.”
He is married, with two children, and plans to live in the El Jebel area. His wife, Peggy, is a former director of customer relations for a PC-based computer graphics software company in Dallas. She now spends her time as a community volunteer and a stay-at-home mom.
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