After deciding June 27 to go out for a broader field of candidates, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly filled an open seat on the board of directors for Juneau International Airport Wednesday evening by appointing former board member Joe Heueisen.
Heueisen, who served on the board from 1995 to 2007 and chaired it for part of his tenure, immediately begins a three-year term expiring June 30, 2015, as a result of the Assembly’s decision.
During his interview with the Assembly Human Resources Committee, Heueisen emphasized his desire to see the airport provide more facilities to accommodate, among other things, air freight and turboprop aircraft.
“Juneau is a hub for southeastern Alaska. Air travel is a major mode of transportation in Alaska,” Heueisen said. He added, “I think the Juneau airport should be in a position to be able to offer facilities” for a number of purposes.
Assemblymember Jesse Kiehl took note of Heueisen’s suggestions on boosting air freight, including the export by plane of salmon and other fished products.
“You talked about opportunities for growth, and I appreciate what you said about the freight forwarding and that sort of thing,” said Kiehl. “I guess I’d be curious about what you see in terms of the opportunity for growth in passengers and enplanements.”
“That’d be a direct reflection on any other industry growth that we may have that would require travel,” Hueuisen replied. “I frankly think the City and Borough should be grabbing up every stick of land that they can find in the immediate area of the airport to support different industries that would … want to have a location a little bit closer to transportation.”
The seat occupied by Tamara Cook was the only one left unfilled at the June 27 round of board appointments. Cook, who was a candidate for reappointment both in June and at Wednesday’s meeting, had remained on the board in the absence of an appointee, participating in its July and August regular meetings.
The main theme Cook hit during her interview was her opposition to continuing the airport’s ongoing renovations.
“If we don’t find funds from outside of Juneau … we should slow down on the renovations at this point,” said Cook. She added, “I think the airport is livable the way it is, as far as I can tell.”
Jim Vuille, who retired from the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year, was the other candidate Assembly members considered Wednesday during their full sitting as the Human Resources Committee.
The Assembly deferred its decision on who to appoint to the seat in June in order to get additional applicants.
Heueisen was the only person interviewed Wednesday who did not interview for the seat at the previous full sitting.