North Clarendon airport seeking new management
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | February 26,2013
State transportation officials are searching for a new manager to lead what they say is the fastest growing state airport in Vermont — the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport.
Dave Carman, who managed the airport for three and a half years, resigned from the post last week leaving the second busiest airport in the state in terms of air traffic in the hands of an interim manager, according to Guy Rouelle, aviation program manager for the state Agency of Transportation. Rouelle declined to say why Carman resigned.
Advertisements for the job were posted last week, but Rouelle said the state isn’t rushing to fill the position.
“I’m going to take my time,” he said. “I want to choose the right person.”
While he’s responsible for the maintenance and growth of all 10 state airports, Rouelle said improving the regional airport in Rutland is one of his biggest priorities.
Carman, who couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, was praised by both Rouelle and the head of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, for his steering of the airport.
“He was great, absolutely,” said Tom Donahue, executive vice president and CEO of the chamber. “He shepherded through a number of projects for us.”
Among the bigger projects he oversaw was the installation of a new airfield lighting and instrument guided landing system, Donahue said.
Those improvements made landing and take-off times more reliable and thus improved the number of flights coming and going to the airport which receives both freight and passenger flights.
As he prepares to interview applicants for the manager’s position, Rouelle said he will be looking for a candidate who can help the airport take its next steps forward.
In the 8,000 to 8,500 embarkations per year category, the RSVR airport far surpasses commuter flights at other state airports but receives the same $210,000 in federal funding each year.
That number is presently augmented by more than $15 million in state funds to pay for safety upgrades and other projects at the North Clarendon airfield.
Looking ahead, Rouelle said the airport could grow faster and at less expense to the state if it could reach 10,000 embarkations a year.
At that level, federal funding jumps to $1 million annually.
“I feel strongly that we could be close to 10,000 enplanements by the end of the calendar year,” Rouelle said.
Whoever takes over the manager’s position at the airport will also be responsible for overseeing $12.7 million in runway safety improvements planned during the next two years to comply with a Federal Aviation Administration mandate.
The state administrator said plans have also been made to install a 48 kilowatt solar array at the field that would reduce the airport’s $24,000 electric bill by about 80 percent.
That innovation is part of a movement toward sustainability. Roulle said part of the new manager’s job will be to bring revenues and expenses at the airport in line by cutting costs and by increasing fuel sales, signing new leases and expanding the aircraft maintenance facility.
The state also plans to look at redesigning and relocating the terminal at the airport where commuters with Cape Air and chartered craft check in.
“I want someone with a great deal of experience and a visionary who can further develop the airport as an economic driver,” Roulle said.
“I’m very excited. It’s conceivable that the airport in Rutland could really take off. It’s one of my biggest missions,” he said.