After a six-month search, the Lafayette Airport Commission has settled on Steve Picou as the next executive director of Lafayette Regional Airport. A five-member search committee made the recommendation to commission Vice Chairman Paul Guilbeau on Wednesday. The search was exhaustive and included video-conference interviews and background checks of the applicants.
A unanimous choice among three finalists by the search committee — 34 candidates applied for the job — Picou currently serves as deputy director of the Amarillo International Airport; he previously served as airport operations officer at New Orleans International Airport in addition to various positions at Albuquerque International Airport going back to 1996. He earned a degree in aviation management in 1992 from Louisiana Tech University.
The other finalists were Ralph Hennessy, assistant director of aviation at Baton Rouge Metro Airport, and Robert Kennedy, VP of consulting service at Canada-based Aviation Strategis International.
The selection comes following last year’s abrupt retirement of longtime Director Greg Roberts, who was forced to pasture following an incident in an airport staff meeting during which he pulled a fake Transportation Security Administration gun. The case was characterized as an unfortunate joke and investigated by local law enforcement but no charges were filed. Picou’s selection also comes at an exciting time for the airport, which will be the beneficiary of an eight-month, one-cent sales tax levied beginning in April that will help fund construction of a new, larger terminal at the airport.
“When the search committee had narrowed the field to five applicants, I could see any of them doing an excellent job in the position of executive director at the Lafayette Airport,” Guilbeau said in a press, citing Picou’s experience and his ties to South Louisiana. “Steven’s active interaction with commercial air carriers, experience with long term capital improvement projects, current dealings with aviation related and major industrial airport tenants, and his accreditation by the American Association of Airport Executives makes him the perfect candidate. And then you can add the fact he is a native of Louisiana, having been raised in Cut Off in Lafourche Parish and trained in airport operations at the New Orleans International Airport.”