NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The New Hanover County Airport Authority’s seven-member board, overseen by the New Hanover County Commissioners, has now shifted. Harry Stovall completed his term, as new member Jason Thompson officially joined. Members can serve no more than four consecutive years and cannot be reappointed until two years after their last term.
A New Hanover County resident since 1996 and owner of American Property Experts, Thompson was appointed by New Hanover County commissioners on June 22. His term will expire on June 30, 2025.
Commissioners also re-appointed Lee Williams. Vice chairman and one of the original founders of Live Oak Bank, Williams is a 29-year resident and will finish out his second four-year term on June 30, 2025.
The authority also elected officers, with chairman Donna Girardot holding her seat for a fourth consecutive term (officers are elected annually). “I am honored to Chair the Airport Authority for this fourth term,” Girardot stated in a press release.
She is joined by elected vice chairman Spruill Thompson and newly elected secretary Nick Rhodes.
The board also is made up of Thomas Wolfe and county commission chair Julia Olson-Boseman.
Recently, the board terminated the contract of its former airport director Julie Wilsey; no reason has been given for her departure. According to the Wilmington Business Journal, Wilsey will be paid $315,000 in salary and benefits.
The airport is now undergoing a national search for Wilsey’s replacement, with Gary Broughton serving as interim airport director.
The business journal noted the board approved in its Wednesday meeting that it will work with ADK Consulting & Executive Search to perform the new director search. The authority will pay $39,000 for consulting services.
ILM had a banner year in 2019, serving over 1 million passengers. It saw a 50% decrease in 2020 because of Covid-19 shuttering and impacting travel. It reported last month in a release that June trends are reaching 95%-99% of its passenger levels from 2019, though official numbers have yet to be released.
“ILM is strongly rebounding from the pandemic, with significant increases in passenger numbers, and our $60 million terminal expansion is currently ahead of schedule and progressing,” Girardot continued in the release. “On behalf of the Airport Authority, we look forward to welcoming back travelers and contributing to the economic growth of our community.”
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