County will split airport director duties on interim basis

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 9, 2017

SALISBURY — With the departure of Thad Howell as director of the Rowan County Airport, two county government department heads will split management of the airport on an interim basis.

Don Bringle, director of facilities as well as parks and recreation — will supervise the airport property and hangars. Gary Price, director of transit and veterans services, will oversee the airport’s office, leases and fuel.

Howell, whose last day was Thursday, had worked for Rowan County government since 2008. Howell’s new job will be manager of flight operations for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

In his new role, Howell will be responsible for planning for DOT’s aircraft; flying trips as needed; overseeing the aviation division’s safety and education program; and supervising a staff of 11 pilots and others.

Howell says he’s thankful for the support of the county’s leadership and called it “a distinct honor” to work as airport director.

“Rowan County Airport is a special place that has a perfect balance between general, military and corporate aviation,” Howell said in an email. “It’s a place where aviation is fostered through groups such as EAA Chapter 1083, students gain their wings from two flight schools, flying clubs share their common passion for aviation, four aircraft maintenance shops thrive, as well as being home to a rapidly growing skydiving operation.”

Rowan County has already begun advertising for a permanent airport director.