As my days as the CEO of Centennial Airport have come to an end, please join me in welcoming a familiar face to the airport as the new CEO; Mike Fronapfel who previously served as the Director of Planning and Development. Mike has been with the airport some 23 years, beginning as an intern and working his way up to take the helm of the finest GA airport in the country.
He brings with him a new pool of incredibly talented staff to take the airport to the next level. Sadly, we also say farewell to several senior staff who will be retiring in 2022. Dave Zarlengo, who served the airport as the Director of Maintenance for more than 40 years, will be leaving the airport in January of 2022 to do some more hunting and fishing and lending his expertise and experience to Derald Shaw who will be taking over from Dave. We wish Dave all the best for the future and welcome Derald, who came to us from the USMC, started as an intern, and worked both in maintenance and as an Operations Supervisor at APA.
Gwen Balk, the Director of Administration for the last 37 years will also retire from the airport in January, but with her relentless drive and energy, she will continue to be a familiar face at the Lion's shack on Fridays. Jay Clark, who came to us from the not-for-profit world will be replacing Gwen—if that is possible, and he is currently onboard shadowing her every activity, which are numerous.
Jeremy Gunn was selected to fill the position of Director of Operations following the tragic and untimely passing of Brian Lewis, who left us all too soon. Jeremy comes to us from the Australian Island State of Tasmania, and he also started as an intern and worked his way up to Operations Supervisor before taking on his current position.
Taking over Mike’s position in Planning and Development is Lauren Wiarda, who came to us from Cheyenne Airport and spent much of her career in operations with her last position as Operations Supervisor. Lauren comes to the planning position with exceptional organizational skills that will come in handy as the airport will see the largest expansion of hangar development in its history over the next 18-24 months.
Roxy Hahn, our CFO for the last 22 years will be reducing her hours gradually over the next six months as Andrew Gillespie will take over as the new CFO. Roxy has worked expertly and tirelessly thru the late 1990s and early 2000’s when funding was cut off, the 9/11 attacks, the 2009 Great Recession, and the Covid-19 Pandemic downturns without having to resort to furloughs and layoffs despite serious budget cuts. Andrew has been on board as Senior Accountant for more than 3 years and has been an integral part of our succession planning. He stands ready to take over on July 1, 2022, as our new CFO.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone who has been such an integral part of the success of the airport: my fellow co-workers, our board of commissioners, and our tenants and users of Centennial Airport. Your unwavering support has been an inspiration. It has been an honor to serve the airport for so many years, and while there are too many names to thank individually here, there is one I will mention, namely, Lorie Hinton, APA’s Assistant Director! She has been the foundation of the airport for the last 30 years (she started at age 5, I think) and is truly the glue that holds everything together. She will be here for many more years supporting Mike and continuing this incredible internship program she started and continues to oversee and manage. Thank you!
Please support Mike as you have supported me over the years and the airport will continue to thrive!