The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission on Tuesday (Nov. 12) named longtime staffer Bryan Malinowski as the executive director of Arkansas’ largest airport following a nationwide search.
Malinowski, 49, was appointed as interim director on May 31 following the resignation of Ronald Mathieu, who had been hired as president and CEO of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
“I’m humbled and thankful for the confidence of the Airport Commission and staff,” said Malinowski. “Under the Commission’s leadership, Little Rock has become one of the top small hub airports in the nation, and I look forward to carrying on its vision.”
Malinowski, who has 27 years of airport leadership experience, joined Clinton National in 2008 as director of Properties, Planning and Development and was later promoted to deputy executive director in 2009. He has held leadership roles with Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, El Paso International Airport and Lehigh Valley International Airport.
The Airport Commission, the eight-person governing body of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, selected Malinowski following a nationwide search conducted by ADK Executive Search based in Atlantic Beach, Fla. Mathieu held the executive director’s position for 13 years before taking over his new role in Birmingham earlier this summer.
Besides Malinowski, Little Rock Airport spokesman Shane Carter said there were 42 other applicants for the position. The other two finalists considered for the top job were Martha Hernandez, a longtime Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport executive, and Craig Williams, who served as director of the Bishop International Airport Authority in Flint, Mich., until August.
In his role as deputy and interim executive director, Malinowski’s salary was $216,216. In March, before he took the Birmingham director’s position, Mathieu received a 3% merit raise that boosted his annual salary to nearly $236,000, along with bonuses up to $50,000 and contributions to his retirement account.
“He will now be in negotiations with the Commission regarding a new salary and benefits package,” said Carter.
Malinowski will assume the top position as the Little Rock airport, known locally as Adams Field, undergoes a major overhaul to redesign the passenger terminal, runways and arrival center. About a year ago, local airport officials announced a $450 million capital improvement program centered around the new state-of-the-art terminal complex.
The new master plan is being prepared to provide the Commission and its stakeholders with a comprehensive, organized and rational plan for developing and improving airport facilities over the next 20 years. Key elements in the preparation of the master plan include Inventory of existing conditions; aviation demand forecasts; analysis of demand and capacity of facilities to accommodate demand; alternatives to improve the facility; and environmental, land use and sustainability planning.
The decades-long plan will also include financial feasibility planning and airport layout renderings. Early designs show the arrival hall, which wouldn’t begin construction until 2027 or 2028, would include space for a federal inspection station, and two additional gates to accommodate U.S. Customs and Border Protection and international passenger arrival services.