Thursday, August 01, 2013

Airport manager leaves New Bedford Regional (KEWB) for Federal Aviation Administration post

NEW BEDFORD — After 2½ years at the helm of the New Bedford Regional Airport, airport manager Tom Vick is leaving for a "dream job" at the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Tom has really moved the airport forward," said Paul Barton, chairman of the Airport Commission.

"In the past, the management style was sort of a Band-Aid remedy type of thing. Tom inherited a lot of structural problems with the airport, problems that he had to overcome "¦ and he moved the airport forward to one of the best in Massachusetts."

In his resignation letter to Mayor Jon Mitchell, Vick said in his short tenure at the airport that much was accomplished, including demonstrating the airport's impact on jobs and economic development, completing an airport master plan, building relationships with surrounding residents and businesses, and "beginning the necessary and critical transformation of the public perception for new development and jobs."

Vick told The Standard-Times he had always wanted to work at the New Bedford airport.

"Let me put it this way — this is the one airport that I've always wanted to manage since I started in aviation in 1981," he said.

"At the same time, if you look at my experiences since 1981, the dream job, an extraordinary (position) presented itself ... I'm going from a bucket list activity to the whole bucket."

The new position will bring Vick to the FAA's regional office for New England in Burlington, where he will oversee airport compliance for the region in addition to land-use issues.

"You're cross-utilizing all your skills," he said. "I'm going to be wearing a different hat but using skills on multiple levels."

As a measure of his achievement, Vick noted most importantly there were no accidents under his watch. But he said in 2012 the number of passengers at the New Bedford airport increased by 1,000 — or nearly 10 percent — to some 12,000.

"I love this airport so much and I've had a lot of fun here," he said. "I've met a lot of good people."

Former Mayor Scott Lang appointed Vick in February 2011. Lang said Vick oversaw the reconfiguration of a runway overhaul plan, and helped secure millions in federal grant money.

"Tom, I think, was a very valuable addition to the airport team," Lang said.

The airport manager position is listed on the city website as well as aviation publications, with a salary range of $69,182 to $84,388. A subcommittee will hire a new manager, and though there is no timeline for the appointment, Barton said ideally a new manager will come on prior to Vick's departure on Aug. 16.

"I'm sorry to see Tom leave," said Mitchell, praising Vick for bringing financial stability to the airport. "... He's an all-around great guy and I'll miss having him serve the city of New Bedford."