Cameron Humphres, executive director of Rapid City Regional Airport, plans to step away from the day-to-day duties of airport management during a year overseas.
Humphres said his wife, a local physician, has been offered a one-year position in New Zealand, beginning in February. "This is an amazing opportunity for her, and the airport staff is well-qualified to handle day-to-day operations. I will remain involved, and work remotely on a part-time basis," he said.
He would work by telephone and online, mostly on strategic planning and long-term airport development.One major project will be the next revision of the Airport Master Plan, which will guide airport policy for the next 10 years. One of the airport's current deputy directors would be named interim executive director, and Humphres will confer regularly with the airport staff.
Initially, when Humphres informed the airport executive board president of his plans, his intent was to resign his position. However, President Lisa Modrick asked him to look into alternatives such as a leave of absence. City of Rapid City policies allow for staff to take a temporary leave of absence from their jobs. Some staff members, including department heads, have used the leave for education, military service and personal projects.
Modrick told Humphres that she believes a temporary arrangement will ultimately benefit the airport and the city of Rapid City. Often, when a city department head leaves permanently, it can take as long as a year to advertise for, interview, hire, relocate and bring up to speed a new director. By staying involved in the airport, and returning in a year, Humphres can ensure continuity at the airport for 2014 and beyond. In addition, it's a good development opportunity for senior airport staff.
The full board supported the leave-of absence idea and is working on final details. The board will vote on a final agreement at its Jan. 28 meeting. Under the agreement, Humphres would serve as an adviser to the airport's senior staff and the airport board during his leave. His pay would be cut to 25 percent of his current salary.
Humphres joined the Rapid City Regional Airport staff in 2007 after a 20-year Air Force career. He completed his service at Ellsworth Air Force Base as a B-1 instructor pilot and weapons system officer. After 15 months on the airport staff, he was promoted to executive director in September 2008.