The Columbus Regional Airport Authority (“CRAA” or “the Authority”) oversees and develops three airport assets across 7,704 acres, each of which is described: John Glenn International (2,266 acres), Rickenbacker International (4,188 acres), and Bolton Field (1,250 acres).
Consistent with the anticipated retirement of Elaine Roberts, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority is now seeking to recruit a new President & Chief Executive Officer. This represents an outstanding opportunity for a strong, dynamic, and visionary leader to take the Authority to the next level in the pursuit of its mission, vision, strategy, and objectives. The new President & CEO will work in a highly collaborative manner with all key stakeholders to ensure that the growth and development of the Authority is in support of the robust economic growth of the greater Columbus region.
LEADERSHIP TRANSITION AND LOOKING AHEAD
Looking ahead, the key issues and opportunities facing the Authority include:
Implementing the key objectives set forth in the Authority’s Strategic Business Plan;
Continuing the strong traffic growth at both John Glenn and Rickenbacker, supported by ongoing air service development efforts;
Propelling the growth of the multi-modal inland port concept at Rickenbacker;
Maintaining the high degree of collaboration and cooperation with other stakeholders while continually representing and advocating for the interests of the Authority;
Ensuring ongoing adoption of and adherence to the organization’s core values; and
Securing cost-effective financing to support the capital program.
Under general direction of the Board of Directors, the President & Chief Executive Officer is responsible for planning, organizing, directing and controlling all functions and activities of the three-airport system operated by the Authority. Major responsibilities, by category, include:
Strategy, Planning & Infrastructure
(Working with the Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Development Officer and other members of the Executive Staff)
Work with the Board of Directors to further refine the vision, mission, and strategy for the
Prepare, gain approval for and execute against a long-term strategic plan.
Translate and integrate the mission, vision, and strategic into specific and actionable objectives and initiatives.
Serve as the primary advocate for commercial and general aviation in the greater Columbus area.
Develop, evaluate and maintain long-range plans for future development of the airport system in the greater Columbus area. Identify and lay out a plan to develop the airport infrastructure needed to satisfy customer needs, managing environmental compatibility.
Oversee capital planning, engineering, construction, real estate, environmental and noise abatement activities.
Oversee ongoing capital improvement projects at all three airports, ensuring that these projects are executed on-time and on-budget.
(Working with the Chief Strategy Officer and other members of the Executive Staff)
Provide strong and inspired leadership to all Authority employees, promoting and maintaining strong employee engagement. Establish high expectations for all employees with regard to service, teamwork, accountability, innovation and respect.
Communicate clear performance expectations and standards to all employees. Provide timely performance feedback to direct reports and other employees as needed.
Ensure productive relationships with all labor unions.
Assure that the Authority and all of its functions and divisions are staffed appropriately with qualified, responsible, productive employees, and that those employees are effectively managed and developed.
Create and maintain an engaging, rewarding and productive work environment.
Oversee the hiring, promotion, transfer, discipline and discharge of employees.
Provide opportunity and support for growth and development of employees toward the accomplishment of Authority objectives.
Provide leadership in addressing the diversity needs and EEO-related goals of the organization.
Finance and Commercial
(Working with the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Commercial Officer and other members of the Executive Staff)
Working with the Chief Financial Officer to provide financialoversight to the Authority including forecasting, accounting, budgeting, auditing, financial analysis/reporting and procurement activities.
Oversee the preparation and justification of the annual operating budget, balancing the Authority’s financial resources with operational requirements.
Meet or exceed specific and negotiated financial and operating performance objectives for the Authority.
Provide regular and timely reporting on results to the Board.
Oversee business development activity working productively with Authority tenants and service providers. Oversee concession contracts, property leases, property development projects, ground transportation and inventory control.
Pursue ongoing commercial development, maximizing revenue and profitability from parking, car rental, retail, advertising, real estate and facilities, advertising and other related non-aeronautical assets and services.
Confer with airlines, concessionaires and other current and prospective users on the optimal use of airport facilities.
Negotiate and oversee important commercial arrangements with air carriers, concessionaires and suppliers, and ensure they are mutually beneficial, economically.
Oversee marketing, public relations and air service development activity. Oversee advertising, public relations, community relations, air service development and airport terminal support services.
Drive and oversee the development of domestic and international air service at both CMH and LCK through strategically-focused approaches and innovative marketing efforts targeted at specific air carriers.
Ensure that the Authority takes all necessary and appropriate actions to keep the costs of operation at appropriate levels so as to ensure the ongoing cost-competitiveness of its airports and attract and properly serve the highly cost-conscious airline community.
Operations and Assets
(Working with the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Asset Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other members of the Executive Staff)
Maintain a safe and efficient airfield and facilities at all Authority airports.
Oversee the daily operations at all airports, including airfield operations, grounds maintenance, building maintenance, custodial services, utilities management, airport security, vehicle maintenance and Airport Rescue Fire Fighting.
Ensure that the airport system is in compliance with all federal, state, city, and local regulations, policies and contractual obligations, while applying modern best practices in airport management.
Coordinate with other cities, state and federal agencies as necessary for compliance with governmental guidelines or requirements related to airport operating and development programs.
Promote and maintain the highest standards of safety and security for all airport users and their property, as well as Authority assets. Proactively support a safe working environment.
Provide command and oversight of airport emergencies, heightened security situations and irregular weather operations.
Encourage and facilitate the application of technology to enable the reengineering of programs and processes to make optimal use of resources.
Identify and respond appropriately to significant air transportation issues impacting Authority operations.
Oversee information technology network planning, design, installation and maintenance, as well as software systems installation, maintenance and integration.
Industry Leadership and Representation
(Working with the Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other members of the Executive Staff)
Remain apprised of legal and regulatory developments and decisions on the federal, state or local level that affect the interests of the Authority.
Engage in active and effective community and stakeholder outreach recognizing the critical nature of such interactions.
Work with local stakeholders to ensure that the airports serve as a key part of the overall greater Columbus experience in all respects.
Serve as the primary external ambassador for the Authority, not only in the community but regionally, nationally and internationally.
Represent the organization to and manage relationships with all key stakeholders, including current and potential airline customers, government executives at various levels, the tourism and convention industries, the business community, suppliers, contractors, partners, local community groups, service organizations, civic committees, technical industrial organizations, the media and the public at large.
Represent the Authority to airport industry groups such as Airports Council International - North America/World and the American Association of Airport Executives.
Communicate regularly with airport operators on a national and international basis regarding current critical aviation issues.
Support and maintain the Authority’s commitment to the community and the environment. Review, investigate, and resolve concerns and complaints from airport tenants, the community and other interested parties.
Establish and maintain working and positive relationships with all relevant state government offices and other agencies. Respond to the inquiries of such groups regarding Authority activities.
Respond to appropriate inquiries from government officials, media and the public concerning airport activities.
YEAR ONE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
The following critical success factors represent those deemed most critical to be accomplished in the first year of employment.
Establish himself/herself as the clear leader of the Authority, building strong relationships with the CRAA leadership team and the Authority’s business associates, including, but not limited to, airlines, tenants, key service providers and business partners.
Establish strong, trust-based working relationships with the Board of Directors.
Identify and address the most compelling issues and opportunities facing the organization.
Integrate into the greater Columbus community, establishing relationships with key stakeholder groups and their representatives and developing an appreciation and internalization of “the Columbus Way.”
The ideal candidate should bring most, if not all, of the following:
Experience as a general manager with overall cross-functional responsibility for the development and management of an enterprise or complex organization. Ideally, experience as a Chief Executive Officer and, if not, as a divisional or business unit general manager.
A highly regarded and experienced airport executive or a senior executive from an industry with similar or relevant characteristics:
Airport sector candidates should bring extensive knowledge and experience of airport industry best practices, standards, and regulations.
Serious consideration will also be given to successful and adaptable executives who bring experience from adjacent and relevant sectors such as airlines, other aviation sectors, transportation & logistics, infrastructure, and real estate.
For candidates with airport sector experience:
Experienced as the overall leader or as a direct report to the overall leader of a medium or large hub airport.
Brings a thorough knowledge of airport finance, revenue generation, administration, operation, maintenance, planning, development, and utilization of civil airport properties, services, and facilities.
Demonstrated track record of establishing and maintaining solid, respectful and trusting relationships with all key stakeholders including ownership, boards, appointed governmental officials, airlines, concessionaires, on-airport service providers, business and community leaders, special interest groups, and other stakeholder groups.
Strong background in non-aeronautical revenue generation with a curiosity and passion for innovation in that domain. This includes a progressive orientation towards pricing and facilitation of the ongoing shift from cost-recovery to value pricing.
For all candidates:
Brings an orientation towards strong community and stakeholder orientation with experience representing his or her organization at very senior levels to a wide variety of audiences, including the community and the public-at-large.
Experience in facilities development and capital program management of scale, with a track record of on-budget, on-time delivery.
Demonstrated strong project management skills in the context of direct management responsibility for large-scale initiatives involving significant dollar amounts and implications, a large staff and many diverse stakeholder groups.
Brings a strong track record of negotiating effectively with third parties including, in the case of airports, current and potential users of airport properties and facilities, agencies and interest groups.
Experienced in public administration and ideally brings a nice blend of both private and public sector experience and of working at the public-private sector interface.
Strong business and financial acumen and insight. Thinks and acts like a businessperson.
Experienced and comfortable working in highly visible representational positions that have put him or her “in the spotlight” and “under the microscope.” Adept at dealing with the media on a regular basis.
A global executive and thinker with the interest and willingness to participate on the international stage relative to the airport industry, following in the footsteps of the great work in this regard by the current President & Chief Executive Officer.
Willing and able to relocate to the greater Columbus area and to effectively integrate himself/herself into the community.
EDUCATION and qualifications
Minimum of an undergraduate degree from a well-respected school. Graduate degree and advanced executive leadership courses are highly desirable.
For those with airport experience, thorough knowledge of laws, rules, and regulations relating to civil airport operations, including those of the Federal Aviation Administration – F.A.R. Part 139.
A ten-year personal, criminal and employment background check is required for this position.
Eligible to work in the United States.
ideal personal profile
Integrity and honesty beyond reproach.
A superior leader with a sense of passion; inspires others to follow.
A strong, visible and charismatic leader of people with the skills required to motivate and “move” people in new directions. Leads boldly and by example and cultivates these attributes in others.
Adopts a servant leadership approach and gives credit to others, inside and outside the organization, where it is due.
Collaborative and team-oriented. Oriented toward and effective at partnering and building relationships with ownership and key stakeholders.
Service- and stakeholder-oriented with an orientation toward public service. Appreciates that an airport organization is effectively a service business to a variety of stakeholders.
Effectively manages multiple issues while managing conflicting interests, demonstrates courage under pressure and acts decisively, but not unilaterally, seeks consensus from division and department leaders on sensitive issues.
An effective arbitrator and consensus builder, capable of appreciating the differing and sometimes competing interests in a situation and of bringing them together around a common and acceptable solution.
Recognized as visionary and forward thinking, with a track record of identifying the “next” opportunities for the airports, with an understanding that the candidate will inherit the current policies of the organization.
Creative, with an ability to conceive and implement new and innovative ideas.
Balances his or her visionary orientation with solid execution skills; is results focused. Has a demonstrated track record of getting things done, demonstrating strong discipline and breaking through bureaucracy.
A long-term thinker and builder who “plants seeds over a period of time” so as to position his or her company for preferred provider positions when transactional opportunities arise, thereby minimizing competitive threats.
Financial and business acumen with an ability to work effectively with private equity investors.
Excellent oral and written communication skills as demonstrated by the ability to articulate an idea as well as the ability to listen to others; comfortable interacting with employees at all levels.
A strong delegator who makes effective use of his or her team and does not micromanage. A leader who gives people the responsibility and authority to get their jobs done.
Listens genuinely and carefully to what others say and ensures that their concerns are heard.
Accessible; has an open-door policy.
Highly intelligent but equally an active and ongoing learner.
Highly numerate, with a strong capacity for interpretation of figures and trends.
A tough-minded, independent thinker yet also oriented toward working with others in a highly cooperative manner, demonstrating an appreciation of and consideration of the interests of others.
Tough but fair, with an ability to negotiate successfully with third parties and walk away with “win-win” solutions and a positive experience for both sides.
Politically astute but not political. Brings an apolitical orientation, but with good political sensitivity, astuteness and acumen. Can handle himself or herself well with politicians and political bodies.
Has “gravitas” and senior executive-level stature to command respect and attention in the role, both internally and externally. Has demonstrated professional and executive presence to stand on behalf of an organization as its leader.
Comfortable working within a fast-paced, high-pressure, unstructured and ever-changing environment.
Calm, cool and collected; unfazed by crisis or challenge.
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