Willard names new chief

Willard names new chief

SAVOY — Willard Airport has a new executive director, the head of airport operations at Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.

David “Gene” Cossey was announced as the University of Illinois airport’s executive director Tuesday following a national search led by a university-appointed committee. He will start Dec. 7 and be paid $150,000 annually.

Cossey has more than 25 years of airport management experience, officials said.

“Gene stood out very early in the process as someone who was not only capable of managing Willard Airport, but one who could improve its operations and take it successfully into the future,” Associate Chancellor Michael DeLorenzo said in a release.

Before his current post, Cossey was the senior manager of airside operations at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the airport director at Newport Municipal Airport in Oregon and the airport operations manager at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business management and information systems. He is an Accredited Airport Executive through the American Association of Airport Executives, and an International Airport Professional through the Airports Council International. 

Cossey’s experience includes airport and economic development, intergovernmental affairs, grant writing, budgeting and negotiation, and community outreach.

Plans to have an outside management firm run Willard and implement changes suggested by an intergovernmental task force fell through earlier this year when no bidders stepped forward. The university then launched a search for an executive director.



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