AUBURN — Busier air traffic at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport will be a welcome challenge for new Manager Rick Lanman.

Lanman, formerly the manager at Arkansas’ Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, officially took over the Auburn post on Oct. 29. Lanman said he’s looking forward to working here.

“In based aircraft, Mena was smaller and in terms of traffic, it was much smaller,” Lanman said. “It was just a different airport. This is smaller in infrastructure but much busier.”

Lanman worked at the Mena airport beginning in 2008. Before that, he worked as manager at airports in McPherson, Kan., and Mount Vernon, Ill. He also taught airport administration at Southern Illinois University.

Ed Plourde, chairman of the Auburn airport’s board of directors, said Lanman’s teaching record is one of the things that helped sell Lanman to the board.

“He has good experience managing an airport and he has been very active in airport education,” Plourde said. “He’s taught airport planning and management. He’s extremely well-qualified.”

Lanman replaces Rick Cloutier as manager. Cloutier resigned in June to manage a regional airport in Concord, N.C.

Cloutier came to the Twin Cities airport in September 2006, replacing John McGonagill in the job.

Cloutier had begun work on implementing recommendations from a 20-year master plan, adopted by the airport’s board just before he started. That included building a new taxiway, longer runways and an expanded terminal.

“Our main focus is going to be customer service and making all aircraft and all customers satisfied,” Lanman said. “There won’t a be a concentration so much on pure commercial service but being a good piece of the transportation hub that Lewiston-Auburn are becoming.”

Plourde said the airport board plans to formally introduce Lanman to the public at an open house in December. That will also be the official debut of the new terminal space, Plourde said.

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