Airport reaches agreement with Cossey to be next executive director

Hank Hayes • Jan 17, 2019 at 9:56 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Tri-Cities Airport Authority announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with Gene Cossey to be the airport’s next executive director.

Cossey will assume his duties in mid to late February. The Airport Authority will hold a called meeting on Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. to consider for approval the terms of Cossey’s contract.

“Gene Cossey is a seasoned airport executive with extensive experience in airport operations and management,” said Dr. Jon Smith, Airport Authority chairman. “He has earned the designation of an Accredited Airport Executive with the American Association of Airport Executives and International Airport Professional with the Airports Council International. We at the Tri-Cities Airport are extremely excited to have Gene join our airport management team and look forward to his taking the airport to the next level.”

“I am very excited to be a part of the Tri-Cities and to join the exceptional team at Tri-Cities Airport,” said Cossey. “The airport and the region both provide a tremendous opportunity for continued growth and development, and I’m excited to be on the team which is making this a tremendous and prosperous region.”

Cossey succeeds Patrick Wilson, who left in November to lead Knoxville’s McGhee-Tyson Airport.

Cossey has been executive director of the University of Illinois – Willard Airport since December 2015. He has worked in aviation operations management since he was 19 and has held positions at five airports spanning more than 30 years.

Prior to coming to Willard Airport, Cossey was the director of operations at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids and the director of airside operations at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. He spent the majority of his career on the Oregon Coast, where he was the operations manager and director of information technology at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport and airport director at the Newport Municipal Airport.

He holds a master’s of public administration from the University of Illinois, Springfield and a bachelor’s from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, majoring in business management and information systems design. He is a doctoral student in the University of Illinois Public Administration program.

The other finalists interviewed by the Airport Authority were Rick Feltner, airport director, Minot International Airport, Minot, North Dakota.; and Shaun Germolus, executive director, Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority, Hibbing, Minnesota.