Ann Crook, former director of aviation at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport in New York, and the new manager of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, began work early this month. Wednesday, she described her first few weeks as “drinking from a firehose,” but said she’s looking forward to her future at the airport.
“I’m still finding my way around, but I’m starting to dig into some really critical issues,” Ms. Crook said. “I’m feeling great about that.”
She named a few immediate priorities, the first being getting the airport on track and consistent with industry standards.
“I’m also really, really looking forward to building the confidence of the community and a partnership with the community, because in my mind the airport isn’t a transportation facility; the airport is a tool for economic vitality in the community,” she said. “I want to make sure that all of the community leaders are understanding the tool and telling me what they need me to do, so that they can benefit from it — I see that as my job.”
She said an immediate change she expects to make is getting everything at the airport “settled down,” including organizing the staff, filling vacant positions, and ensuring that all employees understand their responsibilities and are are ready to move forward into the summer season. There are a number of office duties and airport agreements that have been pending with all of the recent airport personnel changes, she said, which also need to be addressed.
“And our busy season is starting basically this week, so probably top priority is holding it together and making sure that we’re doing our job though the summer, and looking forward to the fall when we can really make some structural improvements,” Ms. Crook said.
“The summer season is one of the things that makes the Martha’s Vineyard Airport unique among all airports in the country,” she said. “I’m pretty excited about providing that elite level of service that people expect from us.”
The airport commissioners and Ms. Crook have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a contract, which they expect to sign pending scheduling arrangements. The draft contract, effective May 6, 2016, to May 5, 2019, includes an annual base salary of $145,000, reimbursed relocation expenses up to $7,000, a 12-month housing stipend of $1,100 per month, and medical benefits. Ms. Crook will also be provided a vehicle for airport duties, and a laptop computer, iPad, and cellphone for work-related purposes.
Ms. Crook has more than 25 years of experience managing airports. She previously managed Klamath Falls Airport in Oregon; was director of the Oregon Department of Aviation; was state airports manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation; managed Hutchinson Municipal Airport in Kansas; and was airport operations manager of the Eugene Airport in Oregon. She also assisted with operations at two small airlines in Alaska early in her career.
Wednesday, Ms. Crook said she’s settling into the Vineyard community very well. “I’ve got a place to live in Oak Bluffs that I love,” she said. “I brought my dog with me – an 8-year-old boxer – and I’m happy to see that it’s a very dog-welcoming community.”
She didn’t even mind Tuesday’s foggy, misty weather. “I just feel at home,” she said.