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Blue Grass Airport hires operations manager as part of reorganization

Michael Gula has been hired to fill Lexington Blue Grass Airport's new position of operations manager.

Gula is coming to Lexington from Toledo Express Airport in Ohio, the same airport where Eric Frankl worked before he became Blue Grass Airport's interim executive director earlier this year. Frankl was director of airports for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which includes Toledo Express and Metcalf Field, a large cargo operation, before taking the Lexington job.

Gula has worked as manager of operations and cargo development at the Toledo airport for the past several years. The airport had about 130,000 commercial boardings last year. In comparison, the Lexington airport had 505,471 boardings.

At Blue Grass Airport, Gula will be responsible for making sure Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations are met. His day-to-day duties will include supervising eight people in areas of telecommunications and credentialing and access control.

He also will be responsible for making sure runway pavement is clear and runway lights are operational, as well as wildlife management, according to airport officials.

Some of the duties Gula and his staff will be handling have been handled until now by the airport's public safety officers. A consulting firm recommended some public safety duties be shifted elsewhere to allow public safety officers to concentrate on law enforcement and firefighting, airport spokesman Brian Ellestad said.

Gula's salary will be $60,000 a year. He starts his new job Sept. 14.

The airport received 45 applications for the new position. Three people were brought to the airport for interviews with a panel that included local airport officials and officials from other airports, Ellestad said. Frankl made the decision to hire Gula, he said.

Gula holds a bachelor of science degree in aviation management and operations from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

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