In Brief: Airport names deputy director
Airport names deputy director
Diane Jackson, who previously served as airport manager at Tweed-New Haven Airport and communications director at the Naples Municipal Airport, will start work at the Aspen Pitkin County Airport on Dec. 5.
She fills the role of deputy airport director and will report to Airport Director Dan Bartholomew. The position has been vacant for several years, while airport administration worked to re-organize the department to reduce costs and increase efficiency, county officials said.
Jackson will oversee several of the sirport’s divisions, including Security and Operations, Facilities and Construction, and Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. She will also assist with various administrative tasks, such as grants.
Officials said the addition of Jackson will allow Bartholomew to focus on large capital projects at the airport, including the design process for a new passenger terminal, which will begin in 2023; a proposed reconfiguration of the airfield; and the implementation and utilization of green technology at the airport such as charging stations for electric vehicles. These projects are a result of the Common Ground Recommendations from the Airport Vision process, a comprehensive community engagement exercise that took place in 2019 and 2020. The recommendations prioritize safety and noise and emissions reductions, they said.
Jackson joins the airport after significant internal changes. Bartholomew says the airport team experienced a restructure, and her personality and leadership style are the right fit for a newly-changed working environment.
“She’s very personable, engaging, and collaborative,” Bartholomew said. “And, her skill-set spans many areas. She has previous airport management experience, so she’s familiar with airport operations, aircraft firefighting, grants, and budgets. She can handle day-to-day operations and assist with future projects.”
Jackson holds a bachelor of business administration in airport management from the University of North Dakota and is a certified member in the American Association of Airport Executives. She’s moving from Naples to the Roaring Fork Valley with her husband and two daughters.
Vail downplays slippage in ski rankings
Each year, various national magazines compile rankings for top destinations, hotels and ski resorts. This year, Vail Mountain fell off the Top Ski Areas in North America list from Condé Nast Traveler and maintained its No. 20 position from the previous year in a similar list (Top Resorts in the West) from Ski Magazine. Neighboring Beaver Creek Resort came in at No. 17 and No. 15, respectively, in the two rankings.
At the Tuesday, Nov. 15, Vail Town Council meeting, Council member Jonathan Staufer said that Vail’s slipping from the Condé Nast list was a cause for concern.
“I think everybody probably saw it and was as concerned as I was about the Condé Nast ratings for Vail,” he said. “I think not even being in the top 20 is of some concern.
“I’m not really sure where we’re falling down, and I’d like to know that,” he said. “What can we do to get the private sector to help us get back to a commitment of quality? I think that’s incredibly important. Because, as I said, there’s not anybody in this entire organization that doesn’t want Vail to be No. 1, and I think that’s true across this entire community and up on the hill.”
However, this concern for the slippage in the rankings was not held by representatives from the Vail Chamber & Business Association, Vail Valley Partnership, or Vail Resorts.
Alison Wadey, the executive director of the VBCA, said the group does “not have any tracking if this ranking affects our guests’ reason for visiting or not.”
Both Vail Valley Partnership’s Chris Romer and Vail Resorts’ Senior Communications Manager John Plack said that there is not any correlation between magazine rankings and visitation.
“These types of rankings are important from a public-relations perspective, and it is always nice to be recognized as ‘best of the best,'” said Romer, who leads the valley-wide chamber. “However, there is very little if any economic impact that can be tracked to these ratings.”
Wadey added that she sees no economic impact from the rankings.
“We have had record sales tax collections the past year, so I do not think this ranking affects our visitors’ desire to come to Vail,” she said.
For Vail Resorts, the rankings are no cause for concern regarding the resort’s future: “Not one bit,” Plack said.
While new restaurants enter the Aspen scene, there are several spaces that will remain empty this winter. Meanwhile, the retail market remains extremely hot.