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Longtime airport leader leaving


Now departing Gate 1 of the Lawrence Municipal Airport: Rick Bryant.

Bryant, who has been the chair of the city’s Aviation Advisory Board for the past 11 years, is resigning his position at tonight’s board meeting.

Bryant said the resignation is necessary because he’s taken a new job as a consultant with the Airport Development Group, a Denver-based firm that has done planning work for the Lawrence Municipal Airport for years. The new job likely would create some conflicts of interest in the future.

“It is kind of like leaving an old friend after 11 years. I still will be involved, but it will be as a consultant, and nobody listens to consultants,” Bryant said with a laugh.

Bryant will remain in Lawrence.

Board members at their meeting tonight will determine who will take over leadership of the board, which plays a pretty active role in planning and overseeing operations at the airport.

Bryant, city leaders said, played a particularly active role in spearheading projects ranging from runway improvements to building new hangar space at the airport.

“Rick was always available and always pushing for the airport to have the visibility that it deserves,” said Chuck Soules, who oversees airport operations as the city’s director of public works. “I don’t know that we’ll find someone to spend the amount of time that Rick spent with it, but the good thing is he’ll still be around.”

Bryant said he believes the airport — which will celebrate its 80th birthday at an event on May 16 — is on the edge of some major breakthroughs. The city currently is studying how to extend water and sewer service to the airport to accommodate interest from a Lawrence-based company that wants to build a facility to construct prototype aircraft at the airport.

“We foresee a big building boom out there,” Bryant said of potential for new development on the airport grounds.

Usage of the airport is also up. Bryant said approximately 50 people are on a waiting list for hangar space at the airport. Bryant said he’s hopeful that the city will be able to finance a hangar construction project at the airport once the economy improves.


fargo 8 years, 4 months ago

In my viewpoint, the departure of Rick Bryant from the Aviation Advisory Board represents a signficant loss for the citizens of Lawrence and Douglas County. His dedicated leadership and vision has resulted in many meaningful improvements at the airport. Suffice it to say, the growth of the airport during his years of volunteer leadership speaks for itself. He leaves big shoes to fill.

d_prowess 8 years, 4 months ago

quick question, why would the economy need to improve before hanger space could be built if there are already 50 people ready and willing to use it now?

William McCauley 7 years, 9 months ago

I think Mr. Bryant's departure is long over due! Mr. Bryant seems to think he is "in the know" yet by his public statements in these boards and in aviation advisory boards meetings he often times places his foot in mouth and leads the city down a slippery slope with the FAA and risks losing federal funding by not understand or following the requirements under the grant assurances.

The company he now works for was hired by the city to help apply and secure federal dollars and then manage the grant assurances that are required under the contract with the United States. Yet Mr. Bryant seems to think it is his place to be Judge, Jury, and executioner and like to try to place his own personal spin of the federal aviation regulations and try to past that off as fact to the city and other members of the AAB as well as the general public. The fact that Mr. Bryant is no longer an active pilot might have something to do with his lack of basic understanding the federal aviation laws and how they apply.

As a new employee of ADG, I would have to question why the city residents should support the city government in continued use of ADG, after all if AGD hires someone who clearly can't comprehend or understand FAA order 5190 "Airport Compliance Manual" http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/5190_6b.pdf and it's follow up Advisory Circular's http://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/advisory_circulars/media/150-5190-6/150_5190_6.pdf And http://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/advisory_circulars/media/150-5190-7/150_5190_7.pdf, it's beyond me why we should keep wasting money on using ADG if we're going to keep having our city leaders mislead and hoodwinked into being discriminating and violating the grant assurances, thus risking not only repayment of the 11.5 million of tax payers money back to the FAA, but also risks the future funding for the 23 acres off the end off of runway 1/19 and the 850K for expanding 15/33 that the city as been asking for.

Mr. Bryant has held his fellow aviation board members to follow his lead based on Mr. Bryants misinformation and personal point of view of what the law says and not on factual information as contained in the above linked documents. Mr. Bryant you need to look up what defines a "hole in the fence operator" FYI- there is NO "gray area" as you so like to state to your supporters. And while your at Mr. Bryant you might take the time to read the airport compliance manual in full before start running your mouth and offering really bad advice to the city of Lawrence Kansas City Commissioners and the airport manger.

With the outstanding leadership you and your fellow aviation board members have provided to the city it's no wonder why so many aviation businesses have decided to not locate in Lawrence. I'm sure your new replacement Mr. "airspace & operations" Richard Haig will continue to tout the party line as well and keep the ship headed towards the burg.

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