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12 People You Need to Know in 2012: Brian Weiler

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Chosen from a pool of nearly 50 applicants and three finalists, the Springfield-Branson National Airport is the fifth airport Director of Aviation Brian Weiler has managed. Weiler, who succeeded Gary Cyr for the position, says he had his eye on the Springfield airport’s top post for several years prior to landing the job, which he started Aug. 1, 2011.

Now that he’s here, he’s keyed in to the role of aviation and transportation in economic development.

Weiler previously spent a decade as the multimodal director for the Missouri Department of Transportation, managing an annual budget of more than $100 million and a staff of 35.

He says his MODOT experience will help him promote Springfield and the airport when local officials want to court a company looking to invest in the Ozarks.

“Having a well-equipped airport with good service, I know, is a major factor in attracting and retaining business,” Weiler says. “I definitely feel the airport must play its role and be a strong advocate for economic development.”

A Jefferson City native, licensed pilot and former Marine, Weiler’s early civilian career included management of small city and county airports in the St. Joseph and Kansas City areas.

Based on transportation assets, he sees the Springfield region as ripe for economic growth.

“All the pieces are there. We have excellent freight/rail capabilities, excellent highway access. We’ve got good airport access with five hub connections and 10 direct destinations, and the transit system is evolving,” Weiler says.

“Yes, my focus is aviation, but I definitely recognize the benefits of an integrated multimodal system,” he adds.

Weiler also is well-versed in the state’s efforts to increase Missouri’s export footprint.

While at MoDOT, he served on a task force that considered developing the China hub at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.

“We are in a global economy, whether we like it or not, and I think we need to do whatever we can to participate in it,” Weiler says.

He is working with Boca Raton, Fla.-based international consumer products company Jarden Corp., which has a location in Neosho, to establish the first subleased foreign trade zone – for tariff-free processing of internal goods – in the airport’s 23-county region. The sublease could be in place by summer 2012, Weiler says.

“Once we get them up and operating, we hope to be able to demonstrate the benefits to other companies that do exports and imports,” Weiler says.[[In-content Ad]]

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