NEWSMAKER: Clark lands jobs as airport CEO

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Year In Review

In April, it was the best of times—and worst of times—for John D. Clark III to take the job as CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.

On one hand, Clark stepped up to a larger airport—from a similar position at Jacksonville International Airport. And the digs here aren’t bad, either—a new, $1.1 billion passenger terminal.

John Clark

At the same time, Clark arrived as airport bean counters figured revenue was expected to fall $15 million below projections. Amid a recession, passenger traffic dived 10 percent and cargo volume 16 percent.

The airport also faces in 2010 negotiating new agreements with airlines. They were asked to pay more during better times for the new terminal and its $40 million-a-year mortgage.

To make rents and landing fees palatable, Clark needs to hold the line on airport costs. Even some of the authority’s top executives were sacrificed this year, including the heads of retail and parking.

Clark also wants to grow airport revenue.

“My hope is that we will begin to look at ways to put some other types of development in place so we’re not as dependent on people flying in and out,” Clark told IBJ in August.

Look for example, at cargo and logistics, he says, pointing to multiple interstate connections and FedEx’s No. 2 U.S. hub at the airport. “We need to begin to look at how to diversify our revenues.”

Clark has plenty of best practices to draw from. He was named chairman of the North American division of Airports Council International, the trade group for big airports.

Tens of thousands of dollars he spent on trips to ACI events around the world while working in Jacksonville fueled criticism of Clark in that city’s alternative newspaper, Folioweekly. The Indianapolis Airport Authority board dismissed those reports, saying Clark has high marks in the industry.

Clark’s predecessor, John Kish, left to head a municipal stadium project in Evansville.•



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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...