National Airport Board Names Jackson's Carl Newman Chairman | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

National Airport Board Names Jackson's Carl Newman Chairman

Carl Newman, executive director of the Jackson Medgar-Wiley Evers International Airport, receives the gavel from previous head of the American Association of Airport Executives, Jeff Mulder from Tulsa, Okla. Photo courtesy JMAA

Carl Newman, executive director of the Jackson Medgar-Wiley Evers International Airport, receives the gavel from previous head of the American Association of Airport Executives, Jeff Mulder from Tulsa, Okla. Photo courtesy JMAA

— The executive director of Jackson's airport now chairs the largest association of accredited airport professionals in the world.

"American Association of Airport Executives has a long and rich history of dedicated service from outstanding volunteer leaders," a release from the AAAE states, "and we are incredibly fortunate to have Carl Newman join another talented group of airport executives to devote his time, energy and intellect to help guide the Association in the busy year ahead."

The membership of the AAAE elected Carl D. Newman, the executive director of the Jackson Medgar-Wiley Evers International Airport, to the top elected spot of their 5,000-member organization, which includes 3,000 airport professionals from more than 850 airports across the country. The organization's website states that besides representing the industry in Washington D.C., the professional group provides testing and training for the professional title of Accredited Airport Executive, A.A.E., which Newman also holds.

"The Board of Commissioners and Staff have every confidence that Mr. Newman will provide exemplary leadership for AAAE, just as he has provided to JMAA. We are proud our CEO will serve as the highest-ranking elected officer of a premiere aviation organization," Dr. Rosie L.T. Pridgen, chairwoman of the JMAA, stated in a release.

Newman joined the Jackson airport in January 2015, taking over day-to-day operations. Recently, the JMAA and Newman released a "Strategic Plan 2021" for the facilities, outlining improvements and expansions, including the possibility for a hotel on airport property, as well as renovations to the present concourse.

All this is happening as the State is Mississippi is attempting to take over the airport, in a move that passed both sides of the Legislature, with help of the Republican supermajority, before sliding across the governor's desk for his signature. The bill takes effect on July 1.

Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, said early on in the process that the bill was designed to promote business. "We should be trying to attract new businesses that can utilize that airport and the space out there, and that's what I hope this new board will focus on and see what they can do," Harkins said in January.

Newman, however, focuses on the development that can take place at the airport, including the development of the East Metro Corridor. He said he has talked to interested parties about the development on the east side of the airport, but that progress may be difficult with the State's recent unsettling actions.

"I personally reached out to folks that I think might have an interest in being here," Newman said during an interview in March. "Let me just tell you one of the things that I hear from folks when we talk about this, and one of them is a pretty large aircraft manufacturer and service firm. And what they have said to me is (that), 'One of the things that we really look at is the access, and that the weather will be conducive to our operations.'"

"But the first thing they ask, that comes out of their mouths, is, 'Are all of the entities on board? So, is the local government on board, is the state on board, are the economic development folks on board, and do they get along?'"

As the new law is set to change the board over the airport to state and regionally appointed representatives, the question is whether the resistance will disappear. Newman seemed to think it was that reluctance that kept businesses from developing.

"And if the answer to that question is no, then they strike your name off the list. And so they won't even waste their time to engage in that if that's the case," Newman said in March. "Now that was that firm, but I have to think that others think similarly."

Read more about the Jackson airport and the State takeover attempt at jfp.ms/airport. Email city reporter Tim Summers Jr. at tim@jacksonfreepress.com. See more local news at jfp.ms/localnews.

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