Ron Mathieu, director of Little Rock National Airport, tells me he has narrowed to five the field of candidates for a new job at the airport — director of public relations and governmental affairs. The job will pay in the range of $90,000 to $135,000. As he explained it to me previously, this will return the airport to its previous staffing, with both a PR/govt. affairs person and a marketing/media relations person (TJ Williams holds that job.) One job had been pared with Philip Launius' retirement a few years ago, but it was decided the airport had sufficient work for two positions. The airport also has contracts for public relations and marketing work.
Four of the five (the fifth name is to come later today after she has notified employers that she's a finalist):
* Michael Keck, an employee of St. Vincent Health and a former member of the Little Rock Board of Directors.
* Bryan Kulpin, who holds a similar job with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, somewhat larger than the Little Rock National Airport in terms of boardings.
* Mark Raines, the former KTHV news director who went into PR with Chesapeake Energy.
* Debbie Willhite, a Little Rock political consultant.
UPDATE: The fifth candidate is Jennifer Hodges Reynolds, a lawyer and Sheridan native now working in Washington for the Inter-American Foundation. She's also worked in the White House and for Witt Associates.
They were winnowed from dozens of interested people. The interviews (with staff and commissioners) and selection by Mathieu is expected to be completed in August. Observation: An agency looking for a friendly public face would be better served by some in this group than by others.