Metropolitan Airports Commission Board Offers CEO Job To Brian Ryks

Mar 21, 2016

The board of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and six general aviation airports in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, today voted to offer the organization’s executive director/CEO position to Brian Ryks.

“Brian Ryks is a 30-year veteran of the airport industry and has demonstrated a strong commitment to innovative, inclusive management, industry-leading customer service and responsible environmental stewardship,” said Dan Boivin, chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “Brian is from Minnesota, began his career at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, and brings considerable skills and experience gained leading four other airports in the Upper Midwest. I look forward to welcoming him back to the Metropolitan Airports Commission.”

Ryks was named as one of four finalists for the top job at MAC by a blue ribbon panel in February 2016. Finalists were then interviewed by the MAC board’s Executive Committee earlier this month. The committee deliberated following those interviews and voted to recommend Ryks to the full board.

Currently the executive director/CEO at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, MI, Ryks is a native of Lakeville, MN and a graduate of St. Cloud State University. Ryks began his career in 1986 as a noise and operations technician at the Metropolitan Airports Commission. He left the MAC in 1990 to become noise abatement manager at Stapleton and Denver International airports in Colorado. After that, he served as airport manager at Aberdeen Regional Airport in South Dakota from 1995 to 1997 and at St. Cloud Regional Airport from 1997 to 2002. He was executive director of the Duluth Airport Authority in upstate Minnesota from 2002 to 2012. Since that time, he has been in his current role at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Over the course of his 30-year aviation career, Ryks has had a major impact at the airports he has led and in the industry as a whole:

  • Developed a financing package consisting of 12 different funding categories including $47 million from federal sources – the most federal funding ever acquired for a terminal project of its size -- for the new terminal in Duluth
  • Established a public-private partnership in Duluth that leveraged $3.1 million from state, local and private sources to develop the North Business Development industrial park for aeronautical businesses
  • Completed more than $17 million in major airfield redevelopment at St. Cloud Regional Airport
  • Secured one of two nationally awarded $1 million federal pilot program grants for construction of a contract air traffic control tower at St. Cloud
  • Worked to acquire $28 million in private capital and philanthropic support of a $45 million terminal expansion in Grand Rapids • Participated in establishment of the Regional Air Alliance, bringing together 25 Grand Rapids-area CEOs and The Right Place economic development partnership for a collaborative approach to air service expansion and economic development
  • Engaged in recruiting AAR, the nation’s largest aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul corporation, to Duluth, MN
  • Headed a successful private funding initiative to support establishment of new air service between Duluth and Chicago
  • Helped develop the Minnesota State Aviation System Plan, State Local Air Service Action Committee and Minnesota Airport Funding Legislative Task Force Under Ryks’ leadership, Gerald. R. Ford International Airport has won numerous international awards, including the top airport in North America in its size category for service quality and awards for environmental mitigation and community outreach and education from Airports Council International-North America.

In addition, Ryks was named 2015 Newsmaker of the Year in Economic Development by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. The Minnesota Council of Airports awarded Ryks the 2012 Distinguished Service Award and the 2009 Award of Excellence for the Outstanding Promotion of Aviation in the State of Minnesota. He is also a recipient of the 2008 Patriot Award for employee support of the National Guard and Reserve. He has been elected by industry peers to serve in leadership capacities in state, regional, national and international organizations including the Minnesota Council of Airports, Airports Council International-North America and the American Association of Airport Executives.

The MAC board also voted today to offer Ryks a starting salary of $280,000. Ryks will replace current Executive Director/CEO Jeff Hamiel, who has announced he will retire from the MAC after 39 years in May.