New Ted Stevens Airport manager to start January 22



A former Deputy Commissioner for Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports is the new director of the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. His start date is Jan. 22, Must Read Alaska has learned.

Jim Szczesniak, who visited Alaska last month to complete the interview process, has been running his family’s t-shirt and silkscreen company since 2008, when he left the employment of the Chicago Department of Aviation, where he had worked for many years.

Between 2006 and 2008, he was the deputy commissioner for aviation planning, policy, environment, real estate & commercial development. His resume says he “conceived and implement 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 and the numerous terminal, landside and airfield improvements associated with the plan. He was in that position with what some call the most corrupt airport in America for two years.

[Read: Corruption scandal loosening Mayor Daley’s grip]

[Read: Is the mob cleaning up at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport?]

Before that, he was director of aviation planning for O’Hare and Midway airports, in a role that lasted two years. He also worked as an airport operations supervisor for the airports.

Szczesniak has recently been running Windy City Silkscreening for 10 years.

He was educated at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and has a bachelor of science in aviation management, and a master of business administration degree from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Szczesniak replaces John Parrott, who was released from service by Gov. Bill Walker without explanation, other than an official statement from the governor’s press office that said the Walker Administration was continuing the “progression of his administration.”

Parrott had been in charge of airport operations for 10 years.

The job is a politically sensitive one, and the next governor could appoint his own choice to run one of the biggest enterprises in the state.

[Must Read Alaska’s report on Szczesniak’s candidacy on Dec. 5]


  1. How does the Governor get to appoint this position? Does Alaska own this airport or private enterprise? I just don’t know.

    • Tom,

      The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a State owned and operated airport. It is operated under the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

      The Airport Manager position is listed under the Partially Exempt Service, and the corresponding State Statute is AS 39.25.120(11).

  2. We have a great airport. New, updated in security, air traffic management and passenger screening. Airlines are running smoothly with a streamlined approach to everything including inbound and outbound schedules. So, how is it we have someone without experience and from a shabby, dirty airport that is falling apart? Did Walker buy this “buddy” too?

  3. Charlie Huggins told me that he’s been a friend of Parrott’s for a long time and that Parrott claims to have no idea why he was fired. Yeah right Charlie, and I’ve got an orange grove to sell you.

  4. Tom, the Anchorage and Fairbanks airports form the Alaska International Airport System. This is part of the Alaska Department it Transportation and Public Facilities. Both airport managers fill positions appointed by and at the pleasure of the Governor. Alaska is one of only 3 states that govern international airports as part of a State DOT.

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