Human Resources and Travel & Tourism

Ford airport CEO steps down

November 30, 2018
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Jim Gill. Courtesy Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The president and CEO of Gerald R. Ford International Airport has stepped down after less than two years.

Jim Gill’s resignation was accepted today by the GFIA Airport Authority Board.

Gill said he will transition immediately to a consulting role to “pursue opportunities in the public sector that have been presented.”

The GFIA Airport Authority Board will select a national search firm to identify CEO candidates. The board expects the search process to be completed in 2019.

Brian Picardat, airport VP and CFO and treasurer of the airport authority, is serving as interim CEO.

He will lead day-to-day airport operations, including guiding the 110 airport authority employees, with the support of a five-person leadership team.

A 30-year airport leadership veteran, Picardat currently oversees accounting and finance, purchasing, parking and ground transportation.

Gill’s tenure

Since Gill took his position in January 2017, the airport has experienced a 16-percent increase in passenger traffic in 2018, a 25-percent increase in non-airline revenue and added numerous non-stop flights.

Gill oversaw completion of the first phase of the $45-million Gateway Transformation project and planning, design and financing for the second phase, which is under construction.

He has also led efforts for commercial development of airport property, added 716 parking spaces in long-term parking, launched an airport mobile app and secured Grand Rapids as the location for the Airports Council International-North America annual convention in 2020.

“I have appreciated the opportunity to play a key role in this exciting growth chapter in the history of the Ford airport,” Gill said. “Working together, we have achieved many good things, positioning the airport for continued expansion and growth.”

Gill came to Grand Rapids from his CEO and CFO position at the Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh. He was previously CFO and deputy airport director of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Jim is respected throughout the aeronautics industry,” said Dan Koorndyk, board chairman, GFIA Airport Authority Board. “He brought tremendous airport operational knowledge to West Michigan, allowing us to undertake significant enhancements to Ford airport. We are gratified he will continue to work with our team in a consulting role.”

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