Make us your home page
Instagram

Four finalists chosen for Tampa International Airport director post

Four airport executives have been picked as finalists to replace former Tampa International Airport executive director Louis Miller, who resigned six months ago.

The group includes the bosses at airports in Fort Lauderdale and Providence, R.I., but no one from Tampa International. TIA interim executive director John Wheat and at least one other senior executive applied for the top job.

Michael Bell of the executive search firm Spencer Stuart forwarded resumes of the four candidates to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board earlier this week. The finalists are scheduled to interview one-on-one with board members in mid September, with a final decision expected at the Oct. 7 board meeting.

The finalists are:

• Kent George, 63, director of aviation for Broward County, which operates the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He previously served as executive director of Pittsburgh International Airport.

• Kevin Dillon, 54, chief executive of T.F. Green Airport in Providence. He was one of three deputy executive directors at Orlando International Airport in 2007 and 2008.

• Lester W. Robinson, 58, chief executive of Detroit Metropolitan Airport from 2002 until the Wayne County Airport Authority board decided not to renew his contract in May.

• Joseph Lopano, 55, executive vice president of marketing at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He is in charge of bringing new airline service to the airport and previously worked for Lufthansa Airlines and Continental Airlines.

Wheat and any other local candidates might not be out of the running yet. Authority chairman Al Austin said he'd want to consider applicants from TIA if board members aren't overwhelmed by any of the four finalists.

"I would not rule John Wheat out,'' he said. "I always like to leave the door open.''

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio disagreed. One of two elected officials on the five-member board, Iorio said the executive head-hunter conducted a nationwide search and determined the finalists were "far superior'' to any applicants at Tampa International. "We asked the consultant to bring out his best candidates,'' she said. "That's what I'm going to focus on.''

Whoever lands the job will be only TIA's third executive director since the mid 1960s. George Bean, who directed construction of the current airport, retired in 1996 after 31 years.

After nearly 14 years in the job, Miller, now 62, expected to stay until retirement. But he clashed with authority board members, starting with Tampa attorney and Republican fundraiser Steven Burton. It began with Burton's idea to create a committee — with himself as chairman — to market the airport to airlines seeking to add new routes.

After that came criticism of Miller's decision to demolish the former Continental Airlines reservations center. Then came questions about his approval of permits for structures near the airport that exceeded height limits, though federal authorities deemed them to be safe.

Miller abruptly resigned Feb. 24, saying he was happy with what he'd accomplished at TIA and would look at other opportunities.

Earlier this week, he was named among three finalists for the top job at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, the world's largest airport.

One of his competitors is Robinson, the former Detroit airport director. Atlanta's mayor pledged to announce the choice by Sept. 3.

Like Miller, Robinson left with a lot of questions unanswered.

The Wayne County Airport Authority board voted to replace him in May with few members commenting, except to praise his work. One member accused Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano of orchestrating Robinson's ouster to give a political ally the job.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Four finalists chosen for Tampa International Airport director post 08/27/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 27, 2010 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco county lawyer disbarred for taking woman's money

    Real Estate

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis. 
[2016 booking photo via Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rick Scott signs package of tax breaks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax cut package Thursday that — while vastly scaled back from what he wanted — eliminates the so-called "tampon tax" and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a tax cut package that will cost state coffers $91.6 million during the upcoming year. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  3. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  4. Tampa Bay is ground-zero for assignment of benefits cases over broken auto glass

    Banking

    When Rachel Thorpe tried to renew her auto insurance last year for her Toyta RAV4, she was stunned to see her monthly premium had nearly doubled to $600. The Sarasota driver was baffled since her only recent claim was over a broken windshield.

    Auto glass lawsuits filed by a third party (through what's known as assignment of benefits) are skyrocketing in Tampa Bay.
[Times file photo]
  5. Siesta Beach tops Dr. Beach's rankings of best locations in America

    Tourism

    Three beaches in Florida made it on a highly coveted list of the top 10 in America this year, ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach."

    This May 18, 2017 photo shows Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla. Siesta Beach is No. 1 on the list of best beaches for the summer of 2017 compiled by Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University. [Chris O'Meara | Associated Press]