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Five Questions: Brian Weiler

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Brian Weiler has had his eye on this job for awhile. The director of the Springfield-Branson National Airport is a licensed pilot, who felt drawn back to working in an airport environment. As he searches for a new home for his family and continues to unpack in his office, the former multimodal director for the Missouri Department of Transportation in Jefferson City said his focus on business development may have landed him the position vacated by Gary Cyr.

COMING ABOARD
“(Interim Director Shawn Schroeder) knows this airport backward and forward. I definitely need him and he is a very valued asset to this airport. Obviously, I need to get to know the airport, but my focus and the focus of the board is on external outreach, business development, those types of things. You need good people that can run the airport efficiently and Shawn is just that person. I’ve focused my first two weeks on getting to know the employees here … and I have to tell you that I’ve been very impressed with the people, and the facilities here are gorgeous.”

AVIATION TRAINING
“I’ve been in aviation since I was 18, and I’ve had just about every job you can in aviation – air traffic controller in the Marine Corps, private pilot, airport management, aviation consultant, and so forth. When I came to MoDOT, the first five years I was the aviation director.”

POINTS A TO B
“I think my last 10 years as multimodal director has given me a greater appreciation for an integrated transportation system. Getting people and goods from A to B is what transportation is, and getting them there in the most efficient way is what’s most important. How that works together … that’s something I bring. This airport, in the last couple of decades has been in a facilities mode – building, putting things in place. Now, we are shifting from building to developing those business connections and opportunities.”

GROUND GAME
“I don’t want a typical day, but the last two weeks, I’ve been here by 7 a.m. The first thing I do is get a cup of coffee and walk around the terminal. I’ll just see what’s going on, look for any issues, say ‘Hi’ to a few people. I’m wondering, ‘Are we projecting the image that we need to project at this airport?’ I’ll meet with staff, but generally, again, we’ve got good people running the airport. I might go along with some of the economic development folks on a house call to (a business in) one of the major industries about an expansion opportunity. I would imagine a couple of conversations with some board members – we have a very active board. But I think a major portion of my job won’t be at the airport. I need to be out.”

TURBELENCE
“I’d like to see lower fares. That will be something I work toward, but we are dealing with private businesses that are trying to maximize their profits. The challenge is in getting people to check us out. We need to be aggressive and focus on those things that allow us to differentiate ourselves, such as customer service and developing those relationships with the business community.”
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