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Airport hires new executive director with $100K salary

The Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority has hired an Air Force veteran and licensed pilot to lead it into the future.

As the Williamsport Regional Airport’s new executive director, Richard Howell will replace Thomas Hart, who is retiring at the end of the year after 33 years.

Howell, a California native and Air Force veteran, formerly served as director of the Columbus Airport in Columbus, Georgia.

A licensed pilot, he also worked as general manager for San Luis Obispo County Airports in California and director of aviation at Waco Regional Airport in Texas.

“I realize I have some very large shoes to fill,” he said, shortly after the board unanimously voted to hire him at its meeting Thursday. “I’m excited to be here.”

His duties will include responsibility for the overall management and administration at the airport. He will plan, direct and coordinate the work of staff personnel, and administer policies and directives for the authority.

He will earn a yearly salary of $100,000.

Howell said the airport’s dedicated employees and improvements are among the reasons he decided to take the job.

“I will make this a real partnership for all of our investors,” he said. “I truly look forward to getting out and about in the community to listen, to educate and to act upon the suggestions of all of our constituents.”

The board acknowledged the years of “dedicated” service from Hart, who remains with the airport during the transition period.

“He’s seen the airport through a lot of improvements over the years, most recently with the new terminal building,” board member Christopher Logue said. “There’s been improvement with runways.”

In other matters, the board approved a lease contract for car rental services with Enterprise.

The two-year agreement comes with a one-year option.

Also approved were contracts with Lundy Construction, LTS Plumbing and Heating and Cipriani Electric for work involving the airport’s new cafe/restaurant, Simply Savor on the Fly.

Hart reported that the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new airport terminal is set for Oct. 6.

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