WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Barnes Regional Airport Commission has made a decision on who they want as their new airport manager.
The three-person commission unanimously chose Marcelo F. Lima, of Birmingham, Alabama, last night to fill the vacant airport manager position. The decision was given to the Westfield personnel department, who had an official on hand during the public meeting.
Lima was one of two finalists for the position. The other candidate was Robert N. Snuck, who most recently served as the airport manager at Pittsfield Regional Airport.
“I feel comfortable in the decision I’m making,” commission chairperson Kim Cameron said. “Marcelo Lima has very strong communication skills, a great business background, has worked well with different municipal offices.”
Both other commissioners, William Gonet and Donald Nicoletti, agreed with Cameron, remarking on Lima’s perceived fit with the airport and his business acumen.
“We feel very comfortable with [Lima] and what he’s done–he can drive us to the next level and that’s what we want to do,” Gonet said.
“He has the desire and the enthusiasm to come in and make the airport stronger,” Nicoletti said.
Lima–who has had less years in aviation than Snuck–has previous experience working in airport financial and planning sectors. He served as a financial project manager and an airport planner at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport from 2012 to the present, and served in operations and planning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina from 2005 to 2012.
Among Lima’s qualifications is the fact that he has been in charge of large budget projects, including the building of a new terminal at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Lima said that in addition to the $201 million budget for the project, he was able to acquire an additional $10 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project.
This wasn’t Lima’s only time acquiring money from the FAA, though. In the interview process, Lima said that he was also able to get $460,000 in FAA funding for snow removal equipment, in spite of the relative lack of snow in the Birmingham area. Records indicate that the greatest single snowfall in the city was 10.3 inches, on March 13, 1993.
Lima’s appointment will be dependent upon successful contract negotiations with the personnel department, as well as approval from Mayor Brian Sullivan.
The city currently has an interim airport management being provided by AvPORTS, an airport management company, through the end of January. AvPORTS is providing the airport with managerial service three days a week currently.