New MAC Commissioner has many challenges

MULTIFACETED

Rick King, an accomplished private sector executive, has been selected to be the new Chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The job of leading the MAC is a multi-faceted task with a demanding schedule. The great new is that his 10 years on the commission will provide a superb basis for making the tough decisions called for in that position and frequently do so on a real time basis.

The below article summarizes some of the challenges with which Mr. King will be immediately confronted;

  • A massive $1.6 billion capital campaign;
  • Leading a marketing effort to attract new airlines to the airport;
  • An operating environment which may be the most demanding among the major hub airports;
  • Creating a strategic plan for an airport with growth in passenger demand and at the same time neighbor concerns;
  • Labor problems—MSP employees, vendor staff and the airline contract workers;
  • NOISE—community opposition to the impact from the flights;
  • Fiscally conservative budgets.
  • Plus many, many other demands

New chief takes over during major overhaul of Minneapolis-St. Paul airport

 

 

 

Rick King was appointed to head the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

Passengers rolling through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport lately may have noticed telltale signs of construction in the main terminal. Temporary partitions divide its midsection, exposed ventilation systems hang in the baggage claim and makeshift signs direct befuddled travelers.

The airport, the nation’s 17th busiest, is undergoing a seven-year $1.6 billion overhaul — one of the biggest in its history — as it adapts to changing travel trends and a growing number of passengers.

Guiding the ambitious project is Rick King, a business executive at Thomson Reuters,[1] who Gov. Tim Walz recently named chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates the airport. MAC member for nearly a decade, King is no stranger to the wiles of aviation as he takes the helm of the 15-member commission that must nurture an asset that touches nearly every Minnesotan.

“Minnesota needs to have this airport in good shape to thrive economically,” King said in a recent interview.

At the same time, King and his colleagues on the commission must look even further into the future as they contemplate a long-term plan, the airport’s blueprint for the next two decades.

 

More changes ahead

King’s ascension comes as the airport adds new airlines, including Aer Lingus, and service, such as Delta nonstop flights to Mexico City, Seoul and, pending government approvals, Shanghai.

 

King “has a well-earned reputation on the MAC of being able to find solutions to complex issues that have made [the airport] one of the best in the country,” said Bill Lentsch, the airline’s executive vice president of Flying/Air Operations.

But in the coming months, King and the MAC must deal with growing labor unrest among some of the airport’s 19,000 workers. Some are pushing for the commission to adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage, which appears likely.

“Honestly, I believe the new chair has been brought on to listen to different perspectives,” said Wade Lüneburg, political director at UNITE HERE Minnesota, which represents some airport workers.

The commission also faces critics regarding airplane noise affecting neighboring communities.

“We made a series of reasonable proposals to better engage the community on noise issues and they were rejected out of hand,” said Kevin Terrell, co-founder of the MSP FairSkies Coalition, a group of anti-noise activists. “They don’t seem to have in their minds the notion that noise should be reduced.”

King, a former Division I hockey referee, said the best strategy for tackling hard issues is listening to all points of view.

“We get the facts out and make the best possible decision,” he said.

“Rick is a pro,” Walz said in a statement. “He’s a proven leader with deep private and public sector experience who brings people together to find consensus and get the job done.”

 

Mr. King seems to be an excellent candidate for the Chairmanship of MAC 

 

[1] For a longer history of King’s career read Rick King’s Path From High School Teacher To CIO Of Thomson Reuters