by Randy Pierce
Succeeding Bryan Johnson, who has taken an aviation-related leadership position in Johnson County, Kansas, Darren V. James is bringing with him an extensive background in appropriate professional endeavors as the interim and soon-to-be formally installed permanent director of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport which is located at the intersection of Interstate 64 and Illinois Route 4 in St. Clair County.
At a meeting of the county public building commission, which oversees the operation of the airport, held on Thursday, August 17, James was introduced by Johnson who left this area for his new role the following week.
James, who had been serving as assistant director at the airport, known as BLV in the aviation industry because of its proximity to Belleville, since February of 2022. He is a retired one-star United States Air Force general and a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives.
Formally completing his military service in 2020 after 30 years, James’ final assignment was that of special assistant to the commander of the Air Mobility Command headquartered at Scott Air Force Base which is adjacent to and has a joint use agreement with BLV.
In that role, he was the focal point “for integration of all AMC efforts in the support of the fielding, employment and sustainment” of the KC-46A.
The duties for James consisted of ensuring the timeliness, continuity and accuracy of internal and external communications with the AMC while assisting the commander and subordinate directors in making informed decisions.
His previous position before that one was as director of operations, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration for the AMC headquarters, developing applicable policies, guidance, oversight and providing forces for its global operations.
James was additionally the leader of over 500 individuals involved in the formulating and institution of policies for the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, its management and commercial air carrier compliance, overseeing command, control, nuclear operations, global force, training, standardization and evaluation of air crews plus joint exercises and commander training guidance.
All of this had provided James with not only leadership experience but also a comprehensive understanding of matters related to national security and global aviation operations.
The extensive level of experience for James has further included commanding USAF units at the squadron, wing and air expeditionary levels, serving as a command pilot with more than 6000 hours logged in nine different types of military aircraft and other high-ranking positions for such agencies as the United States Transportation Command.
Commissioned by the United States Air Force Academy with a bachelor of science degree in human factors engineering, James also holds three masters degrees, military operation art and science from Air University, aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle University and national resource strategy from the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.
Prior to coming on board as assistant director at BLV, James, originally from Huntington Beach, California, was the owner-operator of a consulting firm specializing in strategy, leadership, communications and change management.
With motivational expertise augmenting his leadership skills, James will be responsible for the management of BLV including planning, community relations, development, coordinating with SAFB per the joint-use agreement, directing projects related to expansion, tenant relations and much more.