Hickenlooper Announces DIA Changes
(DENVER) Mayor-elect John Hickenlooper’s transition team made its first agency-related personnel announcement Friday, officially confirming that Bruce Baumgartner’s resignation as manager of aviation has been accepted and announcing Turner West and Vicki Braunagel as co-managers of aviation.
Turner West, DIA’s current Deputy Manager of Aviation for maintenance and engineering, has worked for the Denver airport system for 18 years. He previously spent 18 years working for Frontier, Texas International and Braniff International airlines in various maintenance and engineering management capacities. He also worked in sales for Otis Engineering, a Halliburton Company. West received a bachelor of science degree from the University of North Texas.
Vicki Braunagel has worked for the Denver airport system for 14 years, serving as DIA’s Deputy Manager of business and technologies for the past decade, and previously as the Chief Legal Counsel for the airport system. Prior to joining the airport, she was a partner with the Denver-based law firm of Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker and Grover, and was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado, serving as chief counsel to what is now the Colorado Department of Transportation. Braunagel served as the past chair of both the Economic Committee and Legal Committee for Airport Council International - North America and as the past board president of the Conflict Center in Northwest Denver. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Idaho State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado.
The Aviation Committee of the Hickenlooper transition team has recommended that (1) the City explore and evaluate other management models from around the country for possible implementation at Denver International Airport, and (2) then commence a national search for a manager of aviation.
“Given that DIA is considered by those in the airport management business to be one if the best opportunities in the United States, our aviation committee concluded that we can and should attract the best talent available for the position of Manager of Aviation,” said John Huggins, Hickenlooper’s transition director. “The committee recommended that the present pool of candidates be expanded via a national search before a final decision is made, and suggested that a new airport management model should be considered. The newly-appointed co-managers will serve until this process is completed.”
An interim advisory group will participate in reviewing management models for the airport’s future, and later monitoring the search and selection process.
Additional recommendations from the Aviation Committee include the following:
• Developing an aggressive program to improve relationships and communications with DIA “customers” and stakeholders, including airlines, metro-area counties, Federal agencies, other Colorado airports, the surrounding states, and airport-related industries.
• Developing an action plan to reduce costs at DIA, making it more economically attractive to all airlines. This includes a review of landing fees, tax on aircraft maintenance parts, and all other cost factors that discourage new airlines from locating in Denver and existing airlines from expanding in Denver.
• Developing an aggressive plan for the economic development of the total airport asset. Such a plan should maximize the development of the DIA property for the use of both aviation and non-aviation related business activities.
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