Pence Names Gary Airport Board President

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Governor Mike Pence has appointed Hobart-based Luke Oil Co. President Tom Collins head of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Board. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has named four board members as well.

August 30, 2013

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Governor Mike Pence today appointed Thomas M. Collins, Sr. to a four-year term as President of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Board.

Collins, of Valparaiso, is President of Luke Oil Company, a family-owned and operated business which was founded in 1967 by his father-in-law Ralph Luke. Collins, who joined the company in 1986 after working as an electrician for ten years through IBEW Local 697, has played a critical role in growing the business and was personally responsible for Luke Oil’s north Lake County growth strategy in the late 1990’s. In 2005, the company purchased County Line Orchards, where they have held a number of fundraisers to benefit local charities including the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and various veterans’ organizations. Today, Collins spends much of his time managing and growing the wholesale fuel and transportation business and is active in the company’s growth plans, real estate development and investment opportunities. He recently completed a term as President of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers Association and serves as Indiana's board member to the Petroleum Marketers of America Association. He is a lifelong resident of northwest Indiana.

"With nearly thirty years of firsthand economic development experience in northwest Indiana, Tom Collins, Sr. has the skills and unique perspective necessary to lead the Gary/Chicago International Airport Board," said Governor Pence. "Under his leadership, I am certain the Board will ensure quality service and operation of the airport for Hoosier taxpayers in the region for years to come."

The Board is a municipal corporation responsible for the management and operation of the Gary airport. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson names four appointments to the Board while the Governor, the Lake County Board of Commissioners and the Porter County Board of Commissioners each name one appointment.

Source: Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

August 30, 2013

News Release

Gary, Ind. -- Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson today announced four appointments to the board of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority and welcomed the new appointment of Lake County’s representative on the board.

Each of the new members has long-term ties in the City of Gary and Northwest Indiana as well as expertise in business, accounting, public policy and law.

"These outstanding individuals share great pride in the City of Gary and a resolute commitment to continue the ongoing progress to expand and grow the airport," said Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of the City of Gary. "Their individual expertise and business acumen provide the right leadership to guide the airport forward with strong management and sound policies to attract investment and good-paying jobs."

The appointments include:

• James Cooper, Vice President – Account Manager at JP Morgan Chase in Chicago. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in accounting from Indiana University Northwest. Cooper has extensive experience in data analysis, external regulatory reporting and auditing.

• Denise Dillard, (Lake County appointment), Vice President of Government and External Affairs at the Methodist Hospitals where she also previously served as the Vice President of Human Resources. Dillard earned a degree in economics and political science from Howard University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy Administration from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She also holds a certificate in negotiations from Harvard University.

• Michael Doyne, President of Doyne's Marine, Inc., in Portage, Ind. Doyne is a certified pilot for light sport aircraft and previously served on the airport’s board from 2004 to 2009. A graduate of Purdue University, Doyne also taught biology and environmental science at the former William A. Wirt High School, now the Wirt/Emerson VPA Academy.

• Shontrai Irving, Attorney at State Farm insurance in Crown Point. He is also a former deputy prosecutor of the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office. Irving holds a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law and an MBA from the Purdue University School of Management.

• Alesia Pritchett, Director of Business Services/Grant Management for the School City of Hammond. Pritchett is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of Purdue University. She also holds an MBA from Indiana University Northwest. Pritchett previously served as the Director of Business Services for the Gary Community School Corporation and held several accounting positions at United Airlines.

The mayor announced the appointments at a meeting of the airport’s public-private partnership (P3) committee that is evaluating 10 proposals from companies and organizations to invest in the airport and the surrounding area. The proposals include firms from an array of sectors including aviation, finance and real estate as well as urban and environmental planning. The committee will recommend proposals to the airport authority board in September.

The committee is pursuing a P3 model that retains public ownership of the airport and benefits from private sector access to capital to spur job creation and long-term investment in Gary and the Northwest Indiana region.

In addition to the P3 initiative, major construction to extend the airport’s main 7,000-foot runway by 1,900 ft. continues.

The seven-member airport authority board includes four members appointed by the mayor, one by the Board of Commissioners of Lake County, and one by the Board of Commissioners of Porter County. The Governor appoints the president of the airport authority board.

The Gary/Chicago International Airport is less than 30 minutes from the heart of the tri-state region – Chicago. The airport is directly connected to Chicago's transportation network through freight, interstate and mass-transit and has close proximity to multiple Lake Michigan ports.

Source: Office of Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson