By Randy Pierce
MASCOUTAH – Over 60 applicants who expressed an interest in serving as the new director for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, taking over the position being vacated by the pending retirement of Tim Cantwell, have been narrowed down to the selection of Bryan Johnson who has most recently served as a senior member for Aviation Management Consulting Group in Centennial, Colorado.
Johnson will “shadow” Cantwell to get orientated to the director position beginning Monday, March 23, then formally take over the role independently on April 3, according to information shared by the latter at a meeting of the St. Clair County Public Building Commission held Monday morning, February 24, of this week.
Cantwell told the PBC members that Johnson has “a tremendous resume” that consists of extensive experience in the field of aviation, over 25 years of it at the executive or management level. Johnson is expected to be present at the next meeting of the PBC which is set for Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m., not in its usual location, the county board conference room on the fifth floor of the courthouse building on the Public Square in Belleville, but instead at the airport itself.
Johnson’s background includes in-depth involvement in airport planning, management, operations and development at both general aviation and commercial carrier service airports.
Before joining AMCG, his most recent employer, Johnson was director of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colorado which is located midway between Denver and Boulder. Prior to that, he was the assistant director of aviation at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.
“We selected Bryan following a national search,” St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern explained, “that reached international interests and drew applicants from around the world who were eager to be a part of the operations here at MidAmerica Airport.”
Kern was part of the search committee which, according to Cantwell, narrowed the list of 66 candidates down to eight with the help of Volaire Aviation Consulting then the qualifications of seven of them were reviewed before four were chosen for final interviews in January. One of those four could not be present because of a family situation, Cantwell said, so Johnson was selected from those final three.
“Given his solid qualifications and his demonstrated ability to take what is in place and grow it,” Kern said of Johnson, “we are confident that Bryan is the best person to lead MidAmerica into the future.”
Much like what Cantwell has accomplished in his role as MAA director, specific projects Johnson has been part of include strategic airport business plans, completing accurate compliance documents, managing property development and negotiating development and lease agreements.
An accredited airport executive, one of three certified member instructors for the American Association of Airport Executives and a primary instructor for that group’s finance program, Johnson has also engaged and collaborated with multiple government agencies at all levels, public entities, organizations and communities to increase airport growth and revenue while supporting aviation business and operations.
Johnson holds a masters degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with emphasis on municipal government, budgeting and administration along with an undergraduate degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado in aviation management.
He was an appointee to the Nebraska governor’s transportation committee, a previous member of the Illinois Aviation Trades Association, past member of the Colorado Aviation Business Association and is a commercial/instrument pilot.
“I am honored to be confirmed as the next leader of a terrific team at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport,” Johnson said.
“I would like to thank St. Clair County Chairman Kern and the St. Clair County Public Building Commission for their support and for placing their trust in my leadership.”
“I look forward to meeting with the airport team, our Scott Air Force Base partners and working with Allegiant Airlines, Boeing, North Bay Produce and engaging with local business and community leaders.”
Cantwell announced his retirement in October of last year, pledging to stay on board until someone to fill the position was hired. He was MAA director for 17 years, leading the exponential growth of the facility with the addition of numerous passenger flight destinations, accelerating its usage as a cargo arrival and departure point, partnering with Scott Air Force Base to carry out the joint use utilization agreement between the two and attracting new tenants to the property like Boeing and North Bay Produce.
“As we welcome Bryan,” Kern commented, “we also express our gratitude to Tim who has done a remarkable job helping to strengthen the airport in various ways, most notably growing passenger counts to an all-time high this past year.”
“We appreciate his willingness to remain on board over the past several months and wish him all the best as he begins his retirement.”