CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The new president and CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport has been on the job for a few weeks, but sat down with News 8 for his first television interview since taking over.
“Grand Rapids is seeing a very strong economy strong business market. That helps to put people on airplanes and makes airlines profitable and happy serving our market,” said Tory Richardson.
A strong economy has led to record-setting months and years at the Ford Airport, and this year looks like it will be the busiest yet.
Richardson said the last seven-years working at the Columbus Airport Authority has prepared him for taking the helm at the Ford.
“It’s very similar to Columbus as in its growing, lots of things happening in the downtown area and in the suburbs. (I’m) very familiar with this type of growth,” said Richardson.
Richardson is coming in as the airport is in the final stages of its $47 million gateway transformation project. His hiring was announced just days before the airport released its next plan — the expansion of Concourse A, which will begin next year. He said he is ready for the growing pains.
“I think the biggest hurdle for the airport authority will be maintaining the growth. So, if we continue to see the pace of the growth that we have been experiencing,” Richardson said.
Richardson says his focus will be on the guest experience as well as positioning the airport for success in the future.
“Making sure that we are doing everything that we can to plan for the future, that we got a vision for that. And that we can see what we need 10 years down the road, and we are provisioning our facilities and staff and equipment for that,” said Richardson.