Lakeshore News Tonight

This article underwritten by: Renetta DuBose

New Airport Board Brings Business, Economic Experience

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August 30, 2013 — A team of people with skills varying from strong business sense to prior airport experience comprise the new Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority.  The board will soon change faces after Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced her four appointments to the seven member board, along with the Lake County Commissioners’ appointment.

“I think their presence and this announcement before the deadline really signifies how excited we are about the opportunity for the new appointees to hit the ground running,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson.

Certified Public Accountant Alesia Pritchett said she will bring years of accounting experience from United Airlines and is looking forward to building on the Public-Private Partnership already in motion and the runway extension.

“I’m ready to dig in and get started, review information from the committees, and do my contribution to help the mayor’s dream and vision for the potential of this airport being a jewel and an asset to our community,” said Pritchett.

Board member Michael Doyne is a certified pilot and runs a family business, Doyne’s Marine, Inc., in Portage.  He brings previous airport board experience from 2004 to 2009.

“I’m looking forward to again being on the board and bring history so that the new members have got something to work from,” Doyne said.

The mayor presented the Lake County Commissioners’ appointment to the board.  Denise Dillard, who serves as Vice President of Government and External Affairs at Methodist Hospitals, brings public policy skills to the table.  Two newly appointed board members not present include JP Morgan Chase Account Manager James Cooper and State Farm Insurance Attorney Shontrai Irving.

“It has always been my premise that the airport board should not miss a beat. To the extent that that is necessary, I thought that it was very important and the commissioners of Lake County agreed that it was important for us to make our appointees right away so that we could be assured of a quorum on Sept. 9 when the board meets again,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson.

Work toward betterment of the GaryChicago International Airport took place in Indianapolis as well, with Governor Mike Pence appointing the board chairman, Luke Oil President Thomas Collins, Sr. for a four-year term.

“What I’m looking for is someone who’s going to bring leadership and renewed energy to that Gary Airport Board,” said Gov. Pence.

Porter County Commissioners have not announced a board appointment yet.  The airport’s ad hoc committee announced it will recommend the best Public-Private Partnership proposals, in-hand this week, to the new board at its next meeting after proposal screening takes place.

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