When Amanda Shankland’s colleagues at the Flagstaff Airport found out she’d been hired to run the Sedona Airport, they asked how big her new office would be. She told them it was quite a bit smaller, but added that it didn’t matter because she wasn’t planning on spending a lot of time there.
Instead, she would be out and about, getting her hands dirty, working with staff and customers, and interacting with the community.
Shankland, who officially began work at the Sedona Airport Feb. 23, brings with her an enthusiasm, positivity and love of aviation.
Having spent nearly all of her life in Flagstaff and been deeply involved in aviation, Shankland said she has considerable familiarity with the Sedona facility.
“I’m all about this airport. I love it, I really do,” she said, adding that she relishes the opportunity to bring “positives” to it — which, in part, means improving community relations and ensuring the facility is safe and secure.
Giorgio Cagliero, president of the Sedona-Oak Creek Airport Authority Board of Directors, said Shankland was one of seven candidates interviewed by the board to replace former general manager Russell Widmar, who had taken the job about a year ago with the understanding it wouldn’t be for the long haul.
“Amanda brings a youthful attitude and a new enthusiasm,” Cagliero said. “She’ll shatter that ‘old boys club’ attitude.”
He praised her communication skills and said she is on the same page as the board.
Shankland said the main responsibility of an airport’s general manager is to ensure the facility’s safety standards, but she added that she also will focus on public relations and grant writing, as well as the day-to-day direction of staff.
She acknowledged there have been problems surrounding airport management, most prominent of which have been a disconnect between airport officials and hangar owners, as well as Yavapai County officials, who have been considering taking over the facility. There has also been criticism that the city of Sedona and the U.S. Forest Service — both of which surround the airport, but have no input on it.
She said she is looking forward to cooperating with all stakeholders.
“Aviation is a very tight community, all of us work together …. The county will be a huge resource [and] they’ve been very pleasant.”
Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis, whose district includes the airport, was unable to sit in on Shankland’s interview, but said, “From what I hear she’s a good candidate …. New blood might be the ticket. Maybe we can outline the criteria for the community and city.”