Jan. 26--Coastal Carolina Regional Airport's first deputy director came on board last week, filling a position authorized nearly two years ago.
Director Tom Braaten said Andrew Shorter of New Bern officially filled the position Tuesday at the authority's regularly scheduled January meeting. He started work Wednesday.
"It'll be nice to have new set of eyes on the operation, helping to see if we need to do things differently to save time or energy," Braaten said.
Shorter, who goes by Andy Shorter, said he sees his selection for this job as "all the stars aligning perfectly for me."
Braaten said duties for the $51,775 per year post include backup for everything the director does in overseeing maintenance and operations at the airport as well as some more focused responsibilities.
"The FAA is working on a new safety management system and we'll have to modify our safety program," he said. "That's one of the things he will do, working with the FAA, consultants and contractors."
Braaten said he had eight applicants, "all good, well qualified people," but Shorter's interests, experience and expertise made him rise to the top as a unique fit for Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.
Shorter is recently retired Marine who ended a 30-year career as Marine Air Group (MAG) 14 commander after an assortment of assignments that included director of operations for the 2nd Marine Air Wing. The Harrier pilot who led Harrier Squadron 223 at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station also spent some years as an exchange pilot with the Royal Navy.
He has a bachelor's degree in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle University and a master's degree in strategic studies and national resource strategy.
Braaten said Shorter's responsibilities as MAG 14 commander included oversight of Bogue Field "so he had experience at an airfield other than his Marine Corps flight experience and he is a private pilot and has an airplane."
Following his retirement after 30 years of service, Shorter, who started his military career in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic, was still interested aviation and wanted to do something like this.
"He continued his aviation career studies and became a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives," Braaten said, adding that was a key tipping point in his selection.
Shorter said he was "fortunate to be assigned back here as commander of MAG 14, coming back from Germany" because he and his wife had a pact that when he got out, they were settling someplace for they would stay a while for their two middle school children, who have lived in seven houses.
"Even though I wasn't raised here, I have North Carolina in my blood," Shorter said. "We love the area and knew we wanted to stay here."
"My Mom was born in Lenoir County," he said, but married a World War II pilot who flew B-29s in the Pacific Theatre and moved to Florida.
The match made him and gave him an "early and lifelong interest in aviation even before my military aviation career," Shorter said. His father lives with him now and together they have a 1947 Model 8E Luscombe prop plane.
He and his family also love the water -- his kids are on the YMCA swim team -- and have a boat.
Shorter said the opportunity at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport, right where he and his wife want to live and finish rearing their children, was ideal.
"It's almost too good to be true," he said. "It feels so perfect, I'm almost afraid to breathe."
Sue Book can be reached at 252-635-5665 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter@SueJBook.
Copyright 2014 - Sun Journal, New Bern, N.C.
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