Rowan County Airport Director takes job at NC DOT
By Josh Bergeron
SALISBURY — Thad Howell, director of the Rowan County Airport, will leave his job June 8 to become manager of flight operations for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Howell’s departure was announced Friday afternoon by County Manager Aaron Church. Howell has worked for Rowan County government since 2008, records show. Church said Howell told him about accepting the new job Thursday.
A search for Howell’s replacement will begin immediately, Church said.
“It’s bittersweet. You hate to see a super person leave your team,” Church said.
In an email to department directors, Church said Howell’s new job is “a much-deserved advancement.”
Howell could not be reached Friday afternoon to comment about his departure, which comes at a transitional time for the Rowan County Airport.
In the previous few years, the county has added two corporate hangars at its airport. The county is inching closer to a long-awaited runway extension. County officials also have plans to resurface the runway and renovate the terminal.
Additionally, the airport is set for a name change in August. It will be renamed Mid Carolina Regional Airport.
In the meantime, Church and other county officials will look for Howell’s replacement.
“It’s going to be hard to fill (Howell’s) shoes because he’s responsible for a lot of the good things that have occurred,” Church said.
The deadline for airport director applications is June 5, Church said. He said the salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
In an advertisement for the position, Rowan County asks for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in aviation, public safety, personnel management or a related field. The ad also asks for licensed engineers or pilots and four years of experience in airport operations, aviation management, maintenance and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Church said he plans to conduct multiple rounds of interviews that involve other county officials such as the Airport Advisory Board and county commissioners.
Church said he does not expect to fill the airport director position by Howell’s last day.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.
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