At yesterday’s meeting of the Airport Authority board, we received some sad, but not unexpected news. After 34 years as part of RDU’s facility development team, Dave Powell announced his retirement.
When Dave began his career at the airport, RDU was a much different place. However, during his tenure, RDU has flourished, much like the communities it serves.
As one board member said today, the airport is Dave’s resume. For starters, he and his team took the lead in working with American Airlines to build Terminal C, which became the airline’s Southeast hub. He led the teams that built the parking garage, park and ride lots, GA Terminal and, the crown jewel, Terminal 2.
While at RDU, Dave’s job has been to plan for the future – to lead the airport’s efforts to build the infrastructure needed to support our region’s air travel needs. In March, RDU will celebrate the final major project on Dave’s list: the modernization of Terminal 1.
Terminal 1 completes a major period of construction at RDU that began almost 15 years ago.
But what struck me today as Dave announced his retirement, was that the board voted on a very important project that kicks off another phase of airport planning.
Before he leaves in May, Dave will oversee the first phase of a project with the Urban Land Institute of Washington, D.C. Working with airport staff, ULI will conduct a land use planning study of airport property. A panel of experts, including a land economist, developer, urban land planner, transportation planner and other planning officials, will conduct a study to determine how RDU can best use approximately 1,600 acres that are not reserved for aeronautical uses.
During the panel’s study, its experts will interview local elected officials, land developers and other community representatives to learn more about the region and plans for development.
The panel will then propose ideas for how RDU can develop its property to complement other projects in our region, support the area’s economic development programs and generate revenue.
In many ways, as Dave Powell prepares for his retirement, RDU is coming to the end of a major chapter in its development, but it doesn’t end there as we plan to continue to support our region’s air service needs.