The Chehalis-Centralia Airport director position is open, with current Director David Fleckenstein accepting the role of director of aviation at the Washington State Department of Transportation.
“We are proud a member of the Chehalis team has been selected for such a prestigious position,” Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson told The Chronicle. “We will miss him and we wish him continued success.”
From his new post, Fleckenstein will oversee the aviation division, which works to develop aeronautics and the state’s aviation system to foster sustainable communities and statewide economic vitality.
Programs he will oversee include the airport aid grant, which provides financial assistance to most of the 136 public airports across the state, Fleckenstein said. He will also work to accommodate for estimated growth.
“My goals at WSDOT Aviation are to continue the truly great work already accomplished by the aviation division and its former director,” Fleckenstein said in an email to The Chronicle. “I have worked with a number of their staff members and have seen the professional work that they carry out on a daily basis benefiting the airports and airport users across Washington.”
During his time as Chehalis airport director, a role he took on in 2015 after the departure of Allyn Roe, he helped manage the airport itself along with the leased property the airport holds in the area. A lot of the development on the west side of Interstate 5 is on land held by the airport, Anderson noted.
“I’m most proud of the relationships that we built with members of the city staff, engineering teams, local business owners and the airport users and tenants that we serve,” Fleckenstein said in an email. “We have some really good relationships and I'll miss the interaction.”
The commercial area has grown, and improvements to the stormwater system in the area are in the works, he said. The airport completed a project to improve aircraft parking as well.
Fleckenstein expects that the economic development aspects of the airport will continue to grow in the coming years. Currently, it is working on a long-term development plan for both the airport itself and the surrounding commercial area.
“The airport is well positioned along the I-5 corridor, making it attractive for any number of businesses,” Fleckenstein said. “By making small investments that keep up with demand, we are able to guard against over-leveraging the airport funds. Thus, it allows the airport to become more self sustainable over the long run.”
Fleckenstein will be missed by his staff as well.
“He has been an amazing leader and a great guy in the office,” Airport Manager Brandon Rakes said.
Fleckenstein has 25 years of experience in the field of aviation. His career began as an Army aviation officer.
The city is currently accepting applications for the position, Anderson said. The job entails not only operating the airport but managing the leases as well.
The city will keep accepting applications until the position is filled, but the city will begin reviewing applications on Aug. 11. The position does not have to be confirmed by the city council as the city manager appoints a person to the position.