Next step to replace Wilson hasn't been decided

Hank Hayes • Sep 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Tri-Cities Airport doesn’t yet have a process to replace Executive Director Patrick Wilson, who will be leaving to become president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (MKAA).

“I’m still trying to coordinate with my board and have meetings, so I don’t have anything to say about that,” Wilson said Tuesday.

According to an airport news release issued on Tuesday, “Staff are coordinating with the (Tri-Cities Airport Authority) board and working through the transition process.”

MKAA announced on Friday Wilson’s employment would be effective mid-November.

MKAA runs McGhee Tyson Airport and Downtown Island Airport in Knoxville.

“Serving this region through the Tri-Cities Airport Authority has been personally and professionally rewarding,” Wilson said in a news release. “It has been a privilege to work with the airport staff, airport commissioners, and regional leaders to maximize the airport’s role as an asset for Northeast Tennessee.”

During Wilson’s tenure at the Tri-Cities Airport Authority (TCAA), he led the recruitment effort for Allegiant Air, the transition from the Airport Commission to an Airport Authority, extensive terminal improvements and upgrades, and the major regional economic development partnership with Aerospace Park, which is expected to generate up to 2,000 new jobs in aviation-related development.

“Patrick has served us extremely well, and I wish him all the best in his new endeavor,” said Jon Smith, TCAA chairman. “We are fortunate our airport’s staff and management team are truly exceptional and that they will ensure the airport will continue to operate at the high standards to which our traveling public have become accustomed as we go through this change in leadership. While I regret the fact that Patrick will no longer be leading the team at the Tri-Cities Airport Authority, I know that this represents a well-deserved opportunity.”

This is the second time Wilson has left Tri-Cities Airport. In early 2013, he resigned to take a deputy director’s position at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, but he returned to his old job in July 2013. During Wilson’s absence, Director of Operations David Jones served as interim director.

Since 2015, Wilson has served as the president of the Tennessee Association of Air Carrier Airports and serves on the University of Tennessee’s Aerospace and Defense Advisory Board.

Wilson has held the executive director position at TCAA for 13 years and was previously deputy executive director for eight years.

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