By Joe Cohen
Standard-Times Staff Writer
NEW BEDFORD — A Falmouth man with a background in law, Coast Guard aviation and experience in the public and private sectors has been named manager of the New Bedford Regional Airport.
Edward J. DeWitt was selected by the New Bedford Airport Commission with the approval of Mayor Scott W. Lang from among 30 candidates who applied for the position at the city-owned and operated airport. Mr. DeWitt will begin work next week at a salary of $79,936 a year. He is expected to move to New Bedford within 90 days.
Mr. DeWitt was most recently an attorney and associate town counsel for Falmouth. His experience includes serving as vice chairman of the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket Steamship Authority; as a legislative law clerk in Connecticut, and as a commissioned officer and pilot in the Coast Guard, where he managed Coast Guard operations at a number of large and small airports.
Mayor Lang said Friday that two candidates were presented to him by the airport commission, and he found Mr. DeWitt very qualified with personality and experience strengths that would match the city’s needs.
“He brings a lot of talent — legal, aviation, military, (experience with) federal and state agencies,” Mayor Lang said, adding he and the commission were looking for a manager who could bring about evolutionary change to the airport.
Mayor Lang said Mr. DeWitt will be asked to focus on a number of things, including:
* Working with general and commercial aviation interests.
* Safety aprons on the runways.
* Lighting and other instrument approach improvements.
* Terminal upgrades and passenger security.
* Flight school.
* Neighborhood relations.
The recruitment process was managed by the city’s human resources department and overseen by the airport commission, which screened candidates as a committee, and a subcommittee that presented the two finalists from which Mr. DeWitt was chosen, Mayor Lang said.
Mr. DeWitt said he saw the airport post as an opportunity to combine his two major career paths: aviation and municipal law. He acknowledged he is not a traditional airport manager, but noted in his letter to the city and resume that he has extensive airport management-related experience from his role in the Coast Guard. He is a commercial, instrument-rated pilot with about 5,000 hours of accident-free flying time, most of it in helicopters.
“I’m really excited,” Mr. DeWitt said Friday about his new job. “It’s a great opportunity for me and should be good for the city of New Bedford.”
Mr. DeWitt said he believes the airport has been very well managed on a day-to-day basis but needs management attention for the longer term.
City officials have said they would like to get additional commercial air service from New Bedford to a major hub such as Newark, N.J., or Philadelphia. Currently, the only commercial air service is available through Cape Air to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
January 12, 2008
By Joe Cohen