Updated: 7:25 p.m. | Posted: 5:45 p.m.
A panel of the Metropolitan Airports Commission has recommended the CEO of the Grand Rapids, Michigan airport to run Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Brian Ryks, a Lakeville, Minnesota native, was the top choice among several finalists to succeed Jeff Hamiel, who is retiring in May.
The finalists, including airport COO Dennis Probst and airline and hospitality executive Tammy Lee Stanoch, were interviewed by the MAC's executive committee over several hours on Thursday. The recommendation of Ryks now goes to the full 15-member committee for a vote March 21.
If confirmed, Ryks would take over one of the largest quasi-government jobs in the region. The Metropolitan Airports Commission has a $330 million annual budget and 600 direct employees, including its own police force and fire department. The MAC says 20,000 airline, hospitality and other employees work at the main airport, which serves 35 million passengers every year.
The job also covers six smaller regional airports.
Ryks is no stranger to either MSP or Minnesota aviation. Ryks worked as a noise and operations technician at the airport in the late 80's. A private pilot, he also served as airport manager in St. Cloud for five years and as executive director for the Duluth Airport Authority for 10 years. Ryks has been running the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids since 2012.
The MAC has scheduled an open house for Ryks on March 20 from 2 - 4 p.m. at its offices.
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