Airport gets new manager
Many are hoping the Lake Tahoe Airport will take off with the arrival of the new airport manager today.
Mike Dirkin, 48, will pick up where former airport manager Rick Jenkins left off in terms of goals for the airport. But he will also take on the role of transit manager – expected to represent a quarter of the job – as the city tries to make the airport a transportation hub.
“I will work very hard to improve the image and the business climate out there,” Dirkin said from his South Carolina home.
Dirkin’s arrival will be a relief to city staff who have been collectively filling the void left by Jenkins, who departed last November after a year on the job. Jenkins accepted a job as airport director for San Diego County.
“What it is going to mean is continuity of decisions made by an airport manager instead of a variety of people,” said Janice Brand, airport management assistant.
Dirkin, who has flown in the mountains for 16 years, served as airport manager at the Adirondack Regional Airport, near Lake Placid, N.Y., from 1998 to 2000. Prior to that he was the airport safety officer and director of operations at Gallatin Field in Bozeman, Mont., between 1991 and 1998.
He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in business administration.
“I’m very excited with what South Lake Tahoe is doing to their city, and I think the airport will be a very important part of the plan,” he said. “I’m really excited on the outlook the people of Lake Tahoe have for the community.”
City Manager David Childs and local businessman Carl Ribaudo are working on a strategic marketing plan for the airport. Getting that plan implemented will be part of Dirkin’s job, but outside consultants will also be sought to facilitate the process.
“I think we’re at the point that in another year or two we could be very successful,” Childs said.
Dirkin hopes to bring in quieter jets to keep noise levels below Tahoe Regional Planning Agency thresholds, attract a commercial carrier, a continual goal of airport and city staff. Dirkin will also be charged with seeing through airport improvement projects and negotiating with the fixed base operator, Oasis Aviation.
Dirkin said he is hoping Park Avenue Redevelopment will play a key role in developing the airport.
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