Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.
Bryan Johnson’s starting date is April 3. His appointment was announced Monday by the St. Clair County Public Building Commission, which oversees MidAmerica’s operations.
Johnson’s more than 25 years of experience in aviation and transportation at the executive and managerial levels led to his hiring, the commission stated. His annual salary will be $145,000 to $155,000, according to airport spokeswoman Julie Hauser.
St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern, who served on the search committee with members of the Public Building Commission, said Johnson’s “in-depth experience” in airport planning, management, operations and development set him apart from other candidates.
“We selected Bryan following a national search that also reached international interests and drew applications from more than 60 applicants from around the world who were eager to be part of the operations here at MidAmerica Airport,” Kern said in a statement. “Given his solid qualifications and his demonstrated ability to take what is in place and grow it, we are confident that Bryan is the best person to lead MidAmerica Airport into the future.”
Johnson most recently was a senior consultant for Aviation Management Consulting Group in Colorado. Before that, he worked as an airport director at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport and as an assistant director of aviation at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.
“I am honored to be confirmed as the next leader of a terrific team at the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport,” Johnson said in a statement. “I would like to thank St. Clair County Chairman Kern and the St. Clair County Public Building Commission for their support and for placing their trust in my leadership.”
Johnson is a commercial pilot and a past official of several aviation associations and committees.
Cantwell has served as director for 17 years. He announced his retirement in October 2019 after a job listing appeared on the airport’s website.
MidAmerica credited Cantwell for the airport’s passenger growth, new non-stop destinations on Allegiant Air, expanded cargo operations and a growing partnership with Boeing.
“As we welcome Bryan, we also express our gratitude to Tim, who has done a remarkable job helping to strengthen the airport in various ways, most notably growing passenger counts to an all-time high this past year,” Kern said. “We appreciate his willingness to remain on board over the past several months and wish him all the best as he begins his retirement.”
Cantwell was paid $151,926 in 2018 as the airport’s director and received bonuses many years for meeting performance goals, often ranging in the $18,000 -$20,000 range.
In 2018, airport leaders approved a $2.1 million design contract for renovations at MidAmerica, and, more recently, announced a $96 million project to extend the MetroLink light-rail system from the Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base station to MidAmerica, as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s six-year Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.
Kavahn Mansouri is a reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.
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