Interim director starts quickly, looks to future

jhewlett@herald-leader.comJanuary 14, 2009 

Alfred Testa Jr. came into Blue Grass Airport Tuesday determined to look forward, not back.

"I've kept my nose out of the past," said Testa, who took over as interim director of the airport. "That's not my job," he said, referring to the ongoing scandal at the airport.

Testa immediately took up his charge, meeting with airport administrators, office staff and maintenance personnel.

He also reviewed outstanding engineering issues that need to be taken care of in the next few days, he said in a late interview from his hotel.

In coming days, he will meet with the airport's public-safety officers and with Federal Aviation Administration representatives.

He expects to keep a busy pace, working 60- to 70-hour weeks for the next several weeks, he said, and will "run the airport from this day forward" until a new executive director is chosen.

"The board has a decision to make and they want to get the best possible replacement," he said, adding that he doesn't know whether that will take two weeks or six months.

Lexington is not the only airport with problems that Testa has run. He was previously a director of aviation in Pennsylvania with the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, which runs Harrisburg International Airport and three nearby general aviation airports. He was called in to take over a situation in which the airport board had fired the management company running the airport.

"I've run into airports before that have had staffing situations, so I'm sort of a problem-solver," he said.

Testa retired from Harrisburg two years ago, but continued to work as an airport consultant. In Lexington, he is working for Jacobs Consultancy, which has been hired by the airport board to make recommendations for cleaning up the airport.

Testa, originally from Rhode Island, has been living in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., where he said he will return on Wednesday to pick up some winter clothes. He was unprepared for Lexington's low temperatures, he said.

"I only packed for two days, and I don't have any coats with me," he said.

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