This week Akron-Canton Airport’s long-time CEO introduced the person who will succeed him when he retires . Rick McQueen and Ren Camacho sat down together and talked about what northeast Ohio's second largest full-service airport has been, and what it can become.
Rick McQueen has been with Akron-Canton Airport for 36 years. That includes serving more than a decade as CEO. Ren Camacho has been an executive for Cleveland Department of Port Control --which oversees Cleveland Hopkins--since the early in the last decade. They’ll work together for three months on the leadership transition. Camacho says they are already of one mind about what makes the airport “go.”
Community, says Rick McQueen, is the foundation of the airport's long history in northeast Ohio. Ren Camacho added, "my goal is to build upon that legacy." He plans to meet and have substantive conversations with as many community and business leaders and interested citizens as possible during the three-month transition period for his takeover as head of the airport.
Airport as community asset
Camacho says that bringing together as many of the "stakeholers" as possible to update them on what's happening at the airport, and to enlist their help in moving it forward is a primary strategy he will come in with. McQueen applauds the approach and said it is something "we can build from."
Dealing with a changed industry
The outgoing and incoming CEOs agreed that with airline consolidation and "hubbing," regional airports can be left out of the mainstream of air travel. But both said engaging the airlines and "getting them to the table" is a way to work against that problem. Among other things, said Camacho, that creates "the opportunity to give the airlines data and analysis" that can show them Akron-Canton can be helpful in their business growth too.
The Halls of Fame, and more
Camacho is especially enthusiastic about the growth potential for Akron-Canton as northeast Ohio becomes a "destination" with two of the nation's most popular halls of fame, and a broad range of arts, entertainment and sports venues.
Camacho says there is another key set of stakeholders too
"Our employees, we have to make sure they know and understand what we are doing and why, and are on board," said Camacho. He adds the experience for travelers at an airport is critical to its success--and it is the employees who most impact that experience.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct spelling and style problems.