England Airpark welcomes new executive director

Ralph Hennessy fills the role with more than 20 years of aviation management experience
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 7:57 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On Monday, Dec. 19, England Airpark officially brought on board Ralph Hennessy as its new executive director. The position was previously filled by interim Executive Director Gen. Glenn Curtis, following the departure of former Executive Director Sandra McQuain in June.

Hennessy is a native of St. Francisville, Louisiana. He received his degree in Aviation Management from Louisiana Tech and has since spent more than 20 years in various roles across Louisiana’s aviation landscape. He was the head of airport operations in New Orleans for several years before leaving for Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, where he was there for 16 years as both assistant director and then director of aviation. Before making his way to Alexandria Internation Airport (AEX), Hennessy worked with an aviation consulting firm, Michael Baker International.

“He’s been one of our peers at this airport, as well as all the other airports in Louisiana. So, we’re very excited,” said Scott Gammel, Deputy Director at AEX. “He’s very knowledgeable of what he’s doing. He’s coming in to help with economic development and with the airport. So, the board did a tremendous job of selecting him to be the next leader at the airpark.”

Economic development is one of the main objectives of an executive director, aiming to foster growth at the airpark in more than just new airlines or travel routes. That is exactly what Hennessy intends to do in what he said is an area with “great potential.”

“I’m looking forward to getting out in the community, meeting with the politicians in the community, as well as business leaders, to see what their ideas are and how we can work together to grow the area,” said Hennessy. “It’s not just the airpark but all of Rapides Parish and Central Louisiana. So, collectively, if we can work together, it’s going to be a win-win for everybody.”

“We are pleased to have Ralph join us as executive director. His knowledge of the England Authority and area, and past experience will be invaluable as we work together with other leaders and organizations to create growth and stimulate job creation in our community.”

Robbyn Cooper, chair of the England Authority Board

Hennessy has spent the first few days in the position speaking with staff about developing a strategic marketing plan to do just that and build off of what is already at the airpark.

“There’s a lot of good pillars out here at the airpark. You’ve got the residential. You’ve got the office park itself, and then manufacturing,” said Hennessy. “So, we’re working on strategies to attract business to hit all three of those areas.”

Of course, it is not just companies to bring on board but airlines, too. Hennessy said they are working to bring back United Airlines and American Airlines’ Charlotte route, both of which left earlier this year. With that, they hope to drive competition and attract even more options for customers.

“Everyone out there is trying to bring on more airlines, and they’re all chasing the same ones,” said Hennessy. “There’s only a finite number of carriers out there, and we all have service with American, Delta, United and that range. So, the few that are left, the Southwest, the Breezes, the Frontiers, everyone’s after those.”

Click here to report a typo. Please provide the title of the article in your email.