Ryan Lee Appointed Yellowstone Regional Airport’s Interim Director
Written by Andrew-Rossi on October 12, 2020
Yellowstone Regional Airport’s interim director will seek to “keep the plane in the air with fuel” until a permanent replacement is selected.
Yellowstone Regional Airport’s board selected Ray Lee as the interim director of Yellowstone Regional Airport after the retirement of Bob Hooper on September 30.
Lee started his full-time duties on September 29.
A private business owner in Cody, Lee has two decades of experience “in a variety of ways” with Yellowstone Regional, which includes serving as a board member, an appointment to the States Aeronautics Commission, and working with the local Commercial Airlines group to get more commercial flights to Cody.
As interim director, one might expect Lee to simply maintain the status quo until the new director arrives, like overseeing the current construction projects and ensuring the runways remain free of snow and ice during the upcoming winter.
But the job will demand a bit more. Part of Lee’s priorities as the interim director is to continue the airport’s trend of applying for and obtaining grants to fund the many projects the airport is either currently implementing or hoping to begin in the near future.
A sizeable part of that grant application process will be utilizing the $18 million dollars in federal funding made available to Yellowstone Regional thru the CARES Act.
To Lee, this is ensuring a smooth transition between permanent directors and ensuring the “plane” doesn’t just stay in the air, but “has enough fuel to keep going.”
One thing Lee won’t be doing during his temporary tenure? Applying for the permanent position.
“The airport needs a person who has had much more formal training in FAA regulations, state aeronautics regulations, airport management – there are entire college courses in airport management,” Lee said.
Yellowstone Regional Airport is small but more complex than other airports of its size. It caters to scheduled commercial air carriers, commercial operations, and general aviation all in one airport. Many airports only cater to one, rarely all three.
“You actually need someone with a much broader experience base than the initial person coming in, and truthfully I don’t have that educational background in aviation management,” Lee explained. “But that’s something the board and their consulting company is going to reach for.”
The airport has hired a professional consulting group that specializes in hiring directors for regional airports on a similar scale to Yellowstone Regional. Lee will serve as interim director until the firm selects a candidate that is approved by the board.
Due to the incoming winter and continuing delays due to COVID-19, Lee anticipates serving as interim director for several months.