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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.