Interviews begin this week to find new manager for Yampa Valley Regional Airport west of Steamboat | CraigDailyPress.com

Interviews begin this week to find new manager for Yampa Valley Regional Airport west of Steamboat

Tom Ross

— Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan updated local air service officials Friday on the progress he has made toward finding a replacement for departed Yampa Valley Regional Airport Manager Dave Ruppel.

Sullivan wrote in a memo that the deadline for candidates to submit resumes was Monday, and as of Thursday, he had received eight applications with more expected.

Sullivan informed the members of the board of the Local Marketing District, which advises Steamboat Springs City Council on the use of public tax revenues to secure airline service at YVRA, that he had assembled a team to conduct some preliminary phone interviews with candidates prior to Thanksgiving Day. Personal interviews are expected to take place Dec. 12 and 13.

"We expect to have the new director on board as of the end of January," Sullivan wrote.

Joining Sullivan on the interview panel are city of Steamboat Springs Manager Deb Hinsvark, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Jim Clark, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Diamond, Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger and LMD Board President Chuck Porter.

The candidate who lands the job will set his or her wheels down in the middle of the busy ski resort season at YVRA, which sees the bulk of its commercial airline traffic for the year in a span of 16 weeks. The new airport director also will see flights at YVRA temporarily halted after the end of ski season flights April 12 to allow for a major runway overlay being funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Sullivan reassured LMD board members in his memo that airport department heads are preparing for ski season in their normal way and that a customer service training session has been planned for airport employees for the second week in December. He added that the county's engineering consultant and runway construction contractor are well prepared for construction in the spring.

Ruppel, who had been at the controls of the airport for nine years, resigned in October to take a similar position at Front Range Airport east of Denver — a move that has allowed him to be closer to his immediate family, which already had relocated to the Front Range.

Sullivan previously told the county commissioners he intends to spend part of every Friday at the airport, which is about 23 miles west of Steamboat, until a new director is in place.

Steamboat and the Yampa Valley are served in ski season by Alaska, American, Delta and United Airlines with direct flights from Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as well as Denver.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1