Wiggins Named Interim Airport Director
Gladys Wiggins, deputy director of the Yuma International Airport, will take the reins as the interim airport director while a nationwide search continues for a replacement for Craig Williams, who recently retired.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Rob Ingold, president of the Yuma County Airport Authority, the governing board for the airport.
“Ms. Wiggins is … well qualified to take on these additional responsibilities,” said Ingold.
Wiggins, who has a mechanical engineering degree from the California Maritime Academy, has served in several capacities at the airport since joining the staff in 2009 as the director of operations. Previously, she worked for five years as a civil engineer with the local engineering firm, Nicklaus Engineering Inc.
She is currently completing work for a master’s of business administration degree and will graduate in October. She also is on the path toward obtaining industry executive accreditation with the American Association of Airport Executives.
Wiggins and her husband, retired Marine Staff Sgt. Cassell Wiggins, have three boys.
Williams, airport director since 2006, announced his plans earlier this year to retire in January. However, while on vacation this month, he and his wife decided to move up his retirement. It became effective Monday.
During his tenure, more than $40 million in public and private money has been invested in the airport’s infrastructure and expansion efforts, including development of the Defense Contractors Complex to support military missions in the Yuma area and to boost the community’s economy.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” said Wiggins. “I know that with the help from the airport staff and the guidance of the board of directors, we will continue to provide safe airline services for the people of the Yuma region as well as a safe airfield for our general aviation.”
Wiggins also takes on the responsibility for continuing the economic growth that the airport has experienced in the last several years. First on that list is finding a tenant for the new Aviation Industrial Center, which will have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 11 as it is dedicated as the Joe Foss Hangar.
Another important duty of the interim airport director is to maintain the funding stream from state and federal grants, Ingold noted.
That’s a responsibility Wiggins is already familiar with, having taken it on 1 1/2 years ago.
“We recently submitted several grant requests so for the moment we’re keeping our fingers crossed that those funds become available this summer,” she said.
One recent grant was to help fund a new master plan for Rolle Field, which is in progress at this time. Another expected grant will fund a wildlife hazard assessment for aeronautical operations at the airport. The airport also recently received an Arizona Department of Transportation grant to rehabilitate a section of pavement near the Customs and Border Protection facility that is located in the Defense Contractors Complex. Other grants to expand and rehabilitate pavement at the airport are also anticipated.
“We are looking forward to continuing to expand our operation at the airport under the leadership of Ms. Wiggins,” said Ingold.
Meanwhile, the Airport Authority is in the process of seeking a permanent new director, a process Wiggins said she is “isolated from,” as she is one of several applicants for the position.