Chicagoan James Sczcesniak is said to be Gov. Bill Walker’s choice for manager of the Ted Stevens International Airport, the third busiest cargo airport in the world.
Sczcesniak is the chief operating officer for Windy City Silkscreening, where he manages a silkscreen and embroidery business that provides products for the automobile industry. He’s worked there since 2008 and it appears to be a family company. Marybeth Sczcesniak is the chief executive officer.
Before that, he was at O’Hare and Midway International Airports, a subdivision of the City of Chicago, where he rose through the ranks from running the snowplow operation to becoming deputy commissioner of aviation planning, policy environment, real estate and commercial development, a senior-level management job he held from 2006-2008.
The Anchorage airport job is at the state’s pay grade of 25. If someone is exceptionally qualified, he could get step or two in additional salary, but likely Sczcesniak would be in the $110,000 to $115,000 range. The governor has found it difficult to attract candidates because most airport management jobs pay significantly more, as they are run by port authorities, rather than being state jobs.
In his most recent aviation job, which was nearly 10 years ago, Sczcesniak’s resume says he conceived and implemented “projects and policies that are critical to the airport system’s future growth. Spearheaded the planning, environmental approval, bid process, and lease development for a $200M, 920,000 Sq. Ft. air cargo complex on O’Hare’s former military base. This project is projected to provide the airport with over $400M in rent revenue over the life of the lease, produce 1,200 construction jobs, 1,200 permanent on-site and 10,000 regional jobs. The project achieved LEED Silver certification.”
He was also responsible for O’Hare’s $4.1 billion, 20-year capital improvement plan.
For the two years prior to that, he was director of aviation planning at O’Hare and Midway International Airports.
He has an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He also earned certificates as a professional pilot and in aviation maintenance.
The most recent Ted Stevens International Airport manager, John Parrott, had been in charge of airport operations for 10 years, but was dismissed in early October by Gov. Walker through his Commissioner of Transportation Marc Luiken and Deputy Commissioner John Binder.
Binder has been filling in as interim airport manager since mid-October.
Walker gave no reason for firing Parrott other than to say through his deputy press secretary that he wanted to go in a different direction, continuing the “progression of his administration.”
The job is a politically sensitive one, and the next governor could appoint his own choice. That would indicate that Sczcesniak may want to keep one foot firmly planted back in the family embroidery and silkscreen business.
The governor’s choice has not yet been reviewed by the state Airport Advisory Board, which by statute is supposed to sign off on any airport manager hires.