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Posted on: March 26, 2015

KDOT Aviation Lead Named City Airport Director

Jesse Romo has been named Airport Director for the City of Manhattan effective April 27, 2015. City Manager Ron R. Fehr announced the appointment today.

Romo will be responsible for the daily management and for the safe and efficient operations of Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK). His administrative duties will include directing, coordinating and reviewing all aircraft operations; overseeing and guiding all construction on the airport including the completion of the terminal expansion project and related parking improvements; property maintenance; serving as staff liaison to the Airport Advisory Board; managing the processes and resources necessary for budget administration, the Capital Improvement Program, airport concessions, hangars and related facilities, tenant leases and agreements at the airport. In addition, Romo will be responsible for complying with federal air regulations and grant assurances, employing the airport as an economic development tool for the region, fostering partnerships with Fort Riley and Kansas State University, and working to improve aviation services for general aviation and commercial activities.

“I am extremely pleased to bring someone with the breadth of aviation experience and proven, hands-on experience working with airports in Kansas as well as working with federal aviation officials and regulations that Jesse Romo will bring to the position as airport director,” Fehr said. “Jesse’s energy and experience with marketing and public relations will certainly enhance customer service to encourage travelers to use or increase their usage of MHK. Jesse will be an asset to the city’s management team, to the community and region, as well as meeting the aviation needs of our regional partners and the Flint Hills region as we continue to improve MHK to a higher standard of service and quality.”

Romo currently serves as the director of aviation at the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Topeka, and started working for KDOT in January 2006. He previously served as deputy director of aviation, manager of federal and state affairs for aviation, and assistant office chief in the office of management and budget for KDOT. He also served as director of airport support network for Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Frederick, Md. Romo is a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives, ex-officio member of the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education and is a commercial pilot. He began his airport experience at the Burbank, Calif., airport. He received a master of business administration degree in aviation and human resources management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2004.

The airport director vacancy was created when Peter VanKuren announced his resignation in November. VanKuren’s final day with the City of Manhattan will be May 15.

MHK is a Class I, Part 139 commercial service airport providing commercial airline and General Aviation (GA) services to customers in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. MHK recently completed phase one of a two-phased passenger terminal expansion project, which addresses a shortfall in passenger terminal size and amenities caused by significant growth in commercial passengers realized with the start of American Airlines service to Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare airports. In 2014, more than 125,000 passengers passed through the existing terminal. GA services at MHK include air charter, flight instruction, air photo, major aircraft maintenance, aircraft refueling, tie-down, and aircraft storage. For additional information about Manhattan Regional Airport, visit

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