Search For New Aviation Boss Narrowed To Six Candidates
By Paola Iuspa
Metro-Dade’s Aviation Department is nearing a new era as county officials look at finalists for the director’s position.
Six candidates chosen through a national search will be interviewed in two weeks by county officials, said Norman Roberts, vice president of DMG-Maximus, a Los Angeles-based executive recruiting firm the county hired to help with the search.
"If they can make a decision right after the interviews," Mr. Roberts said, "the county may have a new aviation director by the end of the year."
Aviation Director Gary Dellapa is retiring at the end of the year, said Mayco Villafa§a, the county’s spokesman.
"What happens next remains to be seen," Mr. Villafa§a said. "Mr. Dellapa said he would stay for the transition."
The position calls for the management of the county’s largest economic provider, with a $13 billion annual impact in the local economy, said Mayor Alex Penelas in a press release. He said airport’s economic impact is projected to grow to $19 billion.
Finding a new director is one of Miami-Dade County Manager Merrett Stierheim’s priorities and one of the things he wants to conclude before he retires, Mr. Villafa§a said. Mr. Stierheim last week unexpectedly announced plans to also retire.
Mr. Roberts said six of 19 candidates who applied will be interviewed by Mr. Penelas, Mr. Stierheim and a panel of other officials.
The candidates, Mr. Roberts said, "have a lot of experience running an airport."
He said many people were interested in the job but because the interview process is open to the public in accordance with the Florida Sunshine Law, many potential candidates were concerned their employers would learn they were applying for another job and that would jeopardize their current post.
Most of the 19 semi-finalists for the director’s job are not from South Florida. One, Bill Johnson, is senior assistant to Mr. Stierheim and has responsibilities that include Miami International, but he does not directly run the airport.
Of the remaining candidates, only one is an aviation director, three are aviation consultants and many of the others work in related areas.