Clay County officials last week introduced Colin McKee as the new director of its regional airport.
McKee's appointment follows the abrupt resignation of Kathryn Sok, who cited personal reasons for her departure.
McKee previously worked as the assistant to the airport manager at Lee's Summit Municipal Airport. His first day with Clay County was Feb. 14.
"We look forward to Colin's leadership at Clay County Regional Airport and what he can bring in regard to airport growth," said interim county administrator Alexa Barton. "We are confident in his abilities to take our airport forward."
McKee earned a master's degree in aviation safety from Central Missouri State University. He also is an active pilot and a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives. McKee said he was excited about the new opportunities and the future development for the airport.
"The airport is ready to explode, this is an exciting time for the airport," McKee said on Tuesday.
McKee said he soon plans to increase customer service and the new terminal building will open soon. He also plans to extend staff hours and find ways to improve the airport's ability to handle transient aircrafts. McKee said he also wants to develop cross-promotion efforts with businesses that are nearby.
Sok had been hired to manage the airport last month. But weeks after county officials announced her hiring, they learned that she had been terminated from her previous job as security coordinator for the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. County officials said they were not aware that Sok had been terminated but that would not have affected their decision to hire her.
Following Sok's resignation, officials said they wanted to find a replacement as soon as possible. That included speaking to the other finalists for the job.
County officials said they wanted someone who can help the county market and promote the airport. Presiding Commissioner Carol McCaslin said the county was poised to receive more traffic at the airport when runways at the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport close for renovations.
The county-operated regional airport opened in 1996 and officials have long sought to use it to attract economic development.
Recently, a new terminal building, an extended runway, new runway lights and other improvements were constructed.
The renovations on the county-owned airport in Mosby will allow larger planes to land, which county officials are counting on to help turn the surrounding area into a light-industrial and business hub.
Work on the airport included extending the runway and taxiway to the north from 4,000 feet to 5,500 feet.
The majority of the $6.1 million project was funded through state and federal grants. Officials acquired additional funding to buy a new instrument landing system and lighting that will let planes land in inclement weather, officials said.
Other work included construction of a $182,900 terminal, which includes space for a private fixed-based operator who will be hired to manage the airport.
Part of the funding for the new terminal was a $75,000 donation from former U.S. Rep. Pat Danner of Missouri. Commissioners named the terminal in honor of Danner.
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