Greg Phillips, currently executive director of the Eagle County Regional Airport, has accepted the position of aviation director for the Colorado Springs Airport. He will begin in his new position Jan. 30.
“Greg brings strong relationships with many of the airlines that serve the Colorado Springs Airport, and has displayed a strong track record of success in a variety of aviation-related capacities, including airport operations and project management,” said Mayor John Suthers. “The Colorado Springs Airport is on an impressive growth track and we are confident that Greg is the right person to continue that trend.”
Prior to assuming his position in Eagle, Phillips was the airport director for Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee, Wash. Other airport management roles include deputy director of the Missoula International Airport in Montana and airport manager for the Bend Municipal Airport where he was named Oregon State Airport Manager of the Year in 2006.
Phillips holds an engineering degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and has served as a helicopter pilot and Army Ranger. After leaving the military, Phillips worked as an engineering project manager for Boeing. He then assumed a position as an engineer and project manager in the Federal Aviation Administration Airports Division, where he was responsible for public airport construction and grant funding for airports in Oregon. Phillips next served as the deputy program manager for the FAA project team overseeing the design and construction of Denver International Airport.
As aviation director for Colorado Springs Airport, Phillips will manage, plan and direct airport operations, maintenance, construction, economic development, marketing and long-term planning activities; implement policies and procedures; ensure compliance; and develop programs and strategies to maximize the potential of the Colorado Springs Airport to include business development in the recently created Commercial Aeronautical Zone.
Under former aviation director Dan Gallagher, the Colorado Spring Airport enjoyed robust growth after more than a decade of decline.
Gallagher’s predecessor in the job, Mark Earle, was dismissed by then-Mayor Steve Bach in 2013 after Frontier Airlines exited the Colorado Springs market. Almost overnight, the airport lost 25 percent of its revenue.
“I had a different view with what I could do with the asset,” said Gallagher in an interview with CSBJ after he accepted a job as director of aviation business and finance with the Massachusetts Port Authority in September. “We had to focus on making our place the most profitable location for the airlines. You have to understand that there are 19,000 jobs associated with the airport, and 96 city employees assigned to he facility. Every one of those city employees is paid by airport revenues — we don’t get one penny from the city. We had to have a new story — we had to say “Here’s how we’re going to make you more money.”
In three years, Gallagher turned the enterprise around, paying off debt, sharing revenue from parking and concessions with the airlines, supporting the creation of the tax-free Commercial Aeronautical Zone at the airport and completely overhauling the airport’s business model.
As executive director of the Eagle County Regional Airport, Phillips should be familiar with the opportunities and challenges presented by small airport. EAG serves Vail and the surrounding area, and offers direct daily winter flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Los Angeles and other major cities. Reflecting Vail’s position as a primarily winter recreational destination, the summer schedule is much less intense.
In his new job, Phillips will be expected to maintain the airport’s forward momentum, bring in additional direct flights, increase private aviation and attract business users to the commercial aeronautical zone.