Tuesday, September 8, 2015

ONT to ONT - now we need a head hONTcho

So now that we're on the road to a locally-controlled Ontario International Airport, we have to do the nuts-and-bolts work to actually RUN an airport. No, Alan Wapner cannot do this by himself, although he's part of the group that will select someone to run the airport. Wapner is one of several people who constitute the Ontario International Airport Authority, a group that doesn't even have its own named website yet. However, the Set Ontario Free website includes a description of the OIAA.

About the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA)

The OIAA was formed in August 2012 by a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino to provide overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport's four-county catchment area. OIAA Commissioners are Ontario Mayor pro Tem Alan D. Wapner (President), Ontario Council Member Jim W. Bowman, San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman, Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President) and Orange County Business Council President and CEO Lucy Dunn (Secretary).

Note that although Los Angeles County is one of the four counties in the "catchment area," it is not represented on the OIAA. Perhaps the good citizens of Claremont and Pomona fear us inbred folks just as the people from Westchester do.

Anyway, Wapner, Bowman, Hagman, Loveridge, and Dunn themselves can't run an airport either. For that you need a professional. And, according to the San Bernardino County Sentinel, they're seeking one.

The Ontario International Airport Authority...has earmarked $95,000 which it will pay to Boyden Global Executive Search, a headhunting firm based in Washington, D.C., to find a full-time executive director to oversee the transfer of authority over the airport from Los Angeles World Airports to an executive team overseen by the authority and the city of Ontario.

And no, I don't think LAWA's Stephen Martin will be applying for the job. But who will?

It's an interesting challenge of a job. For most airport head jobs, the new airport head will have a staff of people and an airport to run. There are other cases in which the new head may have a skeleton staff, but needs to actually build the airport. In this case, the airport already exists, but the staffing for the airport is uncertain. Remember, the OIAA itself doesn't even have a website, much less office space. And presumably some people who currently work for LAWA will end up working for OIAA, but those details must still be worked out.

So the candidates are going to show up in Ontario for job interviews. Unless they're local, they'll presumably have the smarts to actually fly in to the airport that they'll be running. If they land in Terminal 4, they'll notice that a significant section of the terminal is empty. Depending upon the time of day, the retail shops may or may not be open. At least they'll see a nice American flag when they go to baggage claim.

However, if they want to make any inquiries about the existing airport, OIAA can't really help them. They'll have to meet with LAWA people. In the ideal situation, LAWA folks will not only be willing to meet with the candidates, but may actually come out to Ontario to do so (rather than making the candidate go to LAX). If there are any LAWA-OIAA disagreements at the time of the candidate visits, however, things might not go so smoothly.

However, regardless of what happens with the candidate interviews, there's one thing that will have an extremely positive impact on the candidates. As they exit Terminal 2 or Terminal 4, they will be facing north and will see our local mountains - the same mountain range that enchanted me when I came to California for a job interview in October 1983.

Well, they may not see it if the job interviews drag on into next summer and the mountains are enclosed by fog.

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