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"Gainesville airport pulls new chief from within"


 
Friday, December 15, 2006

Airport pulls new chief from within
By NATHAN CRABBE
The Gainesville (FL) Sun

 
The Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority has picked its
next leader from within its ranks.

The airport authority voted unanimously Thursday to name Allan Penksa,
assistant executive director and chief operating officer of the airport, as
acting airport director on Jan. 15.

Current CEO Rick Crider will continue working in the position before Penska
takes over. Crider then will help in the transition until Feb. 17, at which
time he leaves for another job.

Penska will then become interim director for 90 days, a period during which
the authority and Penska will decide if they can work together indefinitely.

"We really need to know each other," Penska said.

Crider announced Monday he was resigning to work for R.W. Armstrong, a
Indianapolis-based consulting firm specializing in airport development. He
gave the airport 60 days notice, which set Feb. 17 for his departure.

He will serve in a newly created position at the firm as its vice president
of airport development and management services. The firm was awarded more
than $2.9 million in contracts to design Gainesville airport projects during
Crider's tenure, leading some authority members to criticize the move.

But Thursday's meeting concentrated on Penksa's ability to run the airport.
Authority member W.E. "Mac" McEachern initially suggested advertising the
position to outside contenders, but then agreed that Penska and other
members of the airport administration could run operations in at least 90
days.

"We're in no rush," he said. "We've got competent management in place."

The authority left the issue of Penska's pay for another day. It decided
authority Chairman Peter Johnson could negotiate Penska's salary and the
board would approve it at a later date, retroactively giving him any missed
pay.

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