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KAA embarking on nationwide campaign to draw perfect candidate to Kingman; focus is on airport management, economic development skills 

 

KINGMAN – Kingman Airport Authority Executive Director Dave French is retiring at the end of this year and the search for his successor will be focused and deliberate.

 

That’s the message coming from the organization French led for the past 11 years, preceded by 34 years in the telecommunications industry.

A two-page statement announcing French’s exit details a number of achievements during his administration.

“Under the leadership of Mr. French, the authority has updated flight services and plant facilities, constructed new administrative offices as well as new bays for air rescue firefighter teams and established the first-ever, short-line railroad to better serve industries in the Park,” it stated. “In addition, a valuable partnership with the U.S. Navy brings their pilots to Kingman for flight training on an annual basis.”

While French has endured sharp criticism in local political circles of late, much of the negativity has been unwarranted and based upon misinformation, according to Vearl Haynes, vice chairman of the KAA governing board. Haynes said French has done a great job managing a community asset through a difficult recession.

“Dave’s accomplishments as the administrator at the airport and industrial park speak for themselves. I think that he has done an amazing job. He’s been incredibly effective,” Haynes said. “At one point in time we lost almost 40 percent of the jobs at the industrial park and since that occurred, we have built back to our original levels and are now exceeding them. The accomplishment of bringing in the railroad cannot be overstated.”

Haynes said the KAA intends to conduct a national recruiting campaign to find a French successor whose skill set includes airport management and the ability to promote economic development through landing new business, as well as retention and expansion. He said finding the right person is more important than making the hire before French steps down Dec. 31.

“The higher priority is going to be the person’s qualifications and abilities. If it takes a little longer to get those skills and abilities that we need for the community’s benefit, I see that we’d be willing to go past that timeline,” Haynes said. “Dave has already discussed that he’s willing to help train even if he is already actively retired. It’s not like he’s going to disappear.”

French and his wife Lynda intend to continue residing in Kingman. His retirement announcement noted that he plans to continue his leadership roles on the board of directors for Kingman Regional Medical Center and Mission Bank.

French’s previous local civic service involvements included the Kingman City Council, the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, Route 66 Rotary and the Judicial Merit Commission.

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