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"Long-time head of Colorado's Front Range Airport is out"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Long-time head of Colorado's Front Range Airport is out
By Cathy Proctor 
The Denver (CO) Business Journal

Front Range Airport east of Denver has a new chief after nearly 20 years.

The Front Range Airport Authority announced late Monday that Dennis Heap,
the executive director of the Front Range Airport since January 1994, has
been replaced by interim aviation director Ken Lawson, formerly the Adams
County airport's assistant director of aviation.

"Dennis Heap's last day of employment with the airport was Monday, Aug. 19,
2013," according to the authority.

"The Front Range Airport Authority appreciates the many years of dedicated
service that Dennis provided as aviation director," Stephanie Takis, chair
of the airport authority, said. "However, the Authority decided to move in a
new direction."

Lawson on Tuesday told me that the authority and Heap parted ways due to a
personnel, contractual matter.

"The authority and Heap could not come to an agreement on an employment
contract," Lawson said. Heap's current contract was due to end on Dec. 31,
Lawson said.

Lawson said the airport's new direction is still "to be determined," and
will be based on several factors, including a financial plan, preliminary
business plan and a basic financial plan.

However, the airport's current initiatives will continue, Lawson said.

The airport, southeast of Denver International Airport, has been touted as a
natural hub for drones, also called commercial unmanned aerial vehicles

The general aviation airport has infrastructure, thousands of acres
available for development and miles of sparsely populated plains around it.
Plus, a handful of UAV-related businesses have been established there.

In January, Heap told the Denver Business Journal he believed the drone
industry would help offset the nationwide decline in civilian aviation.
Drones could spark growth at the airport, he said.

The airport also hoped to build a spaceport for suborbital flights.

"It's a new day, not just because Dennis left, but a lot of other things are
happening at the same time," Lawson said.

The airport expects to have more than 60,000 takeoffs and landings this
year, up from 58,000 in 2012, he said.

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