Economic Development and Travel & Tourism

Ford Airport adds board member

January 16, 2020
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Doug Small
Doug Small Courtesy Ford Airport

A new member joined the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority board.

Doug Small, president and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids, joined the seven-member airport governing body, appointed by the Kent County Board of Commissioners.

The board also re-elected Dan Koorndyk as board chair, Floyd Wilson, Jr. as vice chair and Kent County Commissioner Ted Vonk as secretary.

The airport board includes three Kent County commissioners, three Kent County citizens and one citizen from another West Michigan county. Each member serves a three-year term.

Small was selected from a large pool of qualified candidates and replaces citizen representative Steve Heacock, who left the board in December after serving two terms.

“Doug is a tremendous addition to our team,” said Dan Koorndyk, Ford Airport board chair. “His day job with Experience Grand Rapids already serves in a capacity that is familiar with airport operations, projects and hospitality in our community. We believe he will be even more of a champion and adviser for GRR in his role on our board, and we look forward to hearing his ideas and utilizing his expertise.”

Small will serve on the board’s operations and marketing committee and human resources committee.

Small began his tenure with Experience Grand Rapids, Kent County’s marketing arm, in September 2008 and has over 37 years of hospitality, tourism and destination marketing experience.

Since Small’s arrival to Grand Rapids in 2008, hotel performance has seen record level attainments in room revenue and occupancy for nine consecutive years.

Hotel room revenue has grown from $96 million in 2008 to $226 million in 2019.

Prior to his role locally, Small served as SVP for Visit Denver, as well as president of the Syracuse  Convention Bureau and in senior leadership sales and marketing roles capacities for destination marketing organizations in Palm Springs, California, and Dayton, Ohio.

“I am thrilled to join the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board, especially at such an exciting time when the airport is underway with several construction projects, new initiatives and route additions,” Small said. “Our community is thriving, and our airport plays an important role in its growth and success.”

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