Inviting Applications For
Chennault International Airport
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Kutchins & Groh, L.L.C. has been retained by the Chennault International Board of Commissioners to
recruit a new Executive Director. This Invitation to Apply draws upon our discussion with members of
The Board and other key stakeholders. It describes our understanding of the desired professional and
personal qualifications of candidates who will be of interest to the Board. Interested individuals are
invited to learn more about Chennault International from a variety of available sources including its
web site: www.chennault.org.
The City of Lake Charles is located off of Interstate Highway IH-10, nearly 150 miles east of Houston,
Texas and just over 200 miles west of New Orleans, Louisiana. Its beaches make up the shores of
the Calcasieu River some 30 miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. Lake Charles is connected to
the Gulf by means of a deep-water ship channel and is the seat and Port of Entry of Calcasieu Parish.
Lake Charles is the fifth largest incorporated city in Louisiana. It is the major cultural and educational
center in the southwest region of the state. As of the 2000 U.S. census, Lake Charles' population was
71,757. The city serves as the seat of Calcasieu Parish.
It is the principal city of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the parishes of
Calcasieu and Cameron. It is also part of the larger Lake Charles-Jennings Combined Statistical
The City is considered a major petrochemical refining area, fast-growing vacation and gaming center,
and home to McNeese State University.
With over 75 festivals held annually, Lake Charles is referred to as the Festival Capital of Louisiana.
The Chennault International Airport is a key element in the economic development of Lake Charles
and its surrounding area. The facility is operated by a seven-person Board of Commissioners,
pursuant to an act of the Louisiana Legislature in May of 1986, which provided permissive language
which established the Airport Authority’s governance.
The Authority is made up of two representatives each appointed by the City of Lake Charles, the
Calcasieu Parish Police Jury (The Parish of Calcasieu), and the Calcasieu Parish School Board.
Together, the Commissioners choose a seventh member.
The Airport occupies approximately 1600 acres on its site four miles east of the City of Lake Charles.
Named in honor of General Claire Chennault, it first opened during the World War II era. It was the
home of the, now deactivated, 44th Bomb Wing in the 1950s. It was closed in 1963, but reactivated in
1986 in its current form as a major economic engine and job generator for the area.
The facility has a single concrete runway more than 10,000 feet long, an associated taxiway system
and more than a million square feet of ramp area enabling the airport to accommodate any aircraft
now flying. It is designated as an alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle. A number of large
hangars are located adjacent to the landing area.
The Airport has a contracted Airport Fire Fighting and Rescue (ARFF) station with extraordinary
equipment and personnel. Air Traffic Control activities are also provided under contract. The
currently-authorized Airport staff size is 26.
Revenue is generated from typical sources such as facility rentals, fuel flowage fees, and a property
tax, approved by the public, which contributes to the Airport’s operational and maintenance needs.
The fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th.
A Mission Statement has been adopted by the Commission which guides the Airport’s activities:
The Authority created pursuant hereto shall be established for the primary object
and purpose of stimulating and encouraging the development of an industrial
park for economic development through commerce, industry and research and
for the utilization and development of natural and human resources of the area
and provide job opportunities.
The Airport has been successful in attracting a number of nationally and locally-based tenants, which
provide quality employment to community residents and services to the aviation industry. Among
them are Northrop Grumman, Aeroframe Services, Louisiana Millwork, and Million Air.
Employment at many of its tenants is tied to Government contracts and is currently around 1,000 full
and part-time positions. A recent Economic Impact Study indicated that Chennault tenants accounted
for nearly 16% of all non-petrochemical jobs in Southwest Louisiana.
It is a unique facility among airports and industrial airparks in that besides being operated as a major
economic engine and a public airport; it continues to deal with the enormous effects of Hurricane Rita,
which ravaged the area in the fall of 2005. The airport suffered more than 30-million dollars in
damage from the storm.
Every structure on the site suffered some degree of damage; however, the airport remained
operational through the storm. The airport created and followed a detailed recovery plan maximizing
potential revenue sources and accomplishing substantial reconstruction and repair work.
At the conclusion of repair and reconstruction activities, the Airport will have, a new control tower and
virtually maintenance-free facilities.
The Ideal Candidate
The Board is looking for an outstanding leader and manager with well-developed people skills and a
demonstrated record of integrity and assumption of increasingly higher levels of responsibility. The
ideal candidate will have outstanding communication skills and will have the ability to make significant
progress in meeting the Board’s goals and objectives.
Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Seven to ten years of responsible
experience in a supervisory employment environment. The Executive Director will have to
possess/obtain a Louisiana Driver’s License and will need to pass the FBI background check required
to satisfy Federal airport identification and access requirements.
The successful candidate will have a demonstrated work history of increasingly more responsible
positions within an organizational structure.
He or she will be a “people” person, able to maximize the skills of subordinates, while demonstrating
a high degree of communications with the Airport Board of Commissioners. The Executive Director
should have the ability to work with a staff of professionals, providing them guidance and
management, while having the judgment to permit them to do their jobs without undue micromanagement.
The Executive Director should have strong leadership and interpersonal skills and the special ability
to direct and utilize staff resources for the nurturing and growth of the airport community.
The ideal candidate will possess an understanding of the role and mission statement of Chennault
International Airport and will have a strategic plan to achieve a set of goals and objectives. The
Executive Director will employ the range of skill sets needed to become the community voice of
Chennault International Airport.
Schedule and Salary
The search began in June and will conclude when a candidate is appointed. The compensation
package includes a competitive base salary and fringe package, which will depend on the
qualifications of the candidate to whom an offer is made.
How to Apply
To apply, send resume, salary history and references to Executive Director Recruitment, CIAA, 3650
J. Bennett Johnston Avenue, Lake Charles, LA 70615.
All applications are subject to public disclosure under the Louisiana Public Records Law.
Final 6-6-08 Invitation to Apply.pdf