A ‘lucky break’
Robin Brown, a board member of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority, hit the nail on the head when she described Mark Achen’s availability to lead the airport on an interim basis as a “lucky break.”
Achen, a former Grand Junction city manager, knows a thing or two about organizational leadership. You don’t last 16 years at the helm of city government without learning how to navigate people, projects and personalities. Achen did so when the city was going through difficult years in the wake of the oil shale bust.
A seasoned executive offers two benefits in a period of flux for the airport. Achen should serve as a calming influence to the turbulence stemming from Kip Turner’s departure and he’s fully prepared to continue business as usual while the board seeks Turner’s permanent replacement.
Achen is expected to keep directing efforts to improve the terminal, prepare to build a new runway and complete the exterior of an unfinished building just east of the existing terminal amid an ongoing effort to bring a foreign-trade zone to the airport.
Achen’s availability gives the board some breathing room to conduct a search without having everything grind to a halt.