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Airport Commission chairman suggests contract for director

Hank Hayes • Mar 21, 2007 at 12:51 PM

BLOUNTVILLE - Tri-Cities Regional Airport commissioners need to think about nailing down the services of TCRA Executive Director Patrick Wilson for a contract period, Airport Commission Chairman John Abe Teague said Tuesday.

The idea of offering an employment contract to Wilson - in his second year on the job after being selected to replace retiring TCRA Executive Director John Hanlin - apparently just emerged. Previously, the Airport Commission has evaluated the executive director on a year-to-year basis.

"I think with Patrick's eight years of experience here as the deputy director and two years of experience as a director, he brings a lot to the table and is a high-value person," Teague said. "I feel like as a commission we need to take this (offering him a contract) under consideration for his future and also for the future of Tri-Cities Regional Airport."

Wilson's record at TCRA includes overseeing a multimillion-dollar air cargo logistics center project and taxiway extension setting the table for economic development on the airfield's south side.

He has also kept TCRA's finances in the black during post-9/11 economic times marked by airline bankruptcies and high fuel prices.

Wilson's future challenges include keeping TCRA in a strong financial condition, acquiring more private property around the airfield, working to market economic development sites near the airfield, and bringing in more flight service.

He could also be part of a possible landmark change in TCRA's legal structure since its creation in 1935 - setting up an airport authority that could set policy for the airport in place of the existing 12-member commission organized by airport owners.

"I certainly want to stay here," Wilson said. "There was brief mention of (an employment contract) so I don't have any details of what it would be like, but it's common. ... It's similar to what city managers have and standard in the (aviation) industry."

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