The Tri-Cities Airport Authority (TCAA) is moving forward with the process of hiring Gene Cossey, currently the executive director of the University of Illinois – Willard Airport in Champaign, Ill., to be the next executive director at the TRI.
Cossey was one of three executive director candidates interviewed Monday, January 7, by the TCAA. “We interviewed three extraordinarily well-qualified candidates,” TCAA Chair Jon Smith said, “after which we had extensive discussions. We agreed that Gene Cossey is the candidate with whom we would like to begin the hiring process.”
The other finalists were Rick Feltner, airport director, Minot International Airport, Minot, N.D.; and Shaun Germolus, executive director, Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority, Hibbing, Minn.
Cossey has worked aviation operations management since he was 19 years old and has held positions at five airports spanning more than 30 years. Prior to moving to Willard Airport, he was the director of Operations at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the director of Airside Operations at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Cossey spent the majority of his career on the Oregon Coast where he was the operations manager and director of Information Technology at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, and Airport Director at the Newport Municipal Airport.
Cossey holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Illinois, Springfield and Bachelor’s degree from Linfield College in McMinnville Oregon majoring in Business Management and Information Systems Design. He is currently a doctoral student in the University of Illinois Public Administration program. Cossey is an Accredited Airport Executive with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and is an International Airport Professional with the Airport Council International (ACI).
In addition to that experience, one other thing was particularly appreciated by the authority, or at least by Smith. “Gene,” Smith said, “is a great guy.”
Cossey still has to complete his obligations to his current employer, so deputy executive director David Jones will continue as interim until Cossey is free and clear to fly south.
The new executive director will replace Patrick Wilson, who took the director’s position at McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville last year. Jones has been serving as interim executive director since Wilson departed Nov. 2.