1/20/2006 - Bill Jennings Announces Retirement from GOAA
C. W. "Bill" Jennings announced today that he would retire from the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority effective April 4, 2006. His retirement will be concurrent with his 30th anniversary with the Authority. Jennings is stepping down as Executive Director and Steve Gardner is today being appointed Interim Executive Director until the Aviation Authority Board appoints a new Executive Director.
"I felt that the airport needed to bring a new chief executive on board to negotiate the 2008 airline agreements and move the airport through its next significant steps," said Jennings. "In addition, I have given significant consideration to my own personal and family needs and feel this is the perfect time."
Jennings was appointed Executive Director in 2000 and has served the longest of any executive director in the Authority's history. Mr. Jennings has served during many of the airline industry’s greatest challenges, including the attacks of 9-11 and the financial challenges and bankruptcies of many airlines.
"Florida benefited from Mr. Jennings steady hand at the helm of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority for the past six years," said GOAA Chairman Jeff Fuqua. "Through turbulent times, Mr. Jennings had the foresight and leadership to make hard decisions and take the appropriate steps that led OIA and the Authority to its current strong market position."
Under his leadership, the Authority realized significant milestones and achievements at Orlando International Airport including:
- Becoming the busiest airport in Florida with more than 31.1 million passengers in 2004
- Ranking first in the nation and second in the world by JD Powers for customer satisfaction in 2004
- Establishing Jet Blue University and Jet Blue Maintenance Facilities
- Building a 31,700 square foot food court as part of the Concession Redevelopment Plan
- Opening a new fourth parallel runway
- Opening the Flight Safety International Simulation facility
- Opening the new 345 foot Air Traffic Control Tower
- Establishing the FedEx regional sorting facility
- Opening of Southwest Airlines crew and pilot base
- Launching of the "Clear" Registered Traveler Program
- Setting up E-Pass/SunPass services for parking
- Establishing the Cessna Service Center
- Overseeing the South Terminal redesign to accommodate greater security concerns
"Transition is always challenging when you are trying to fill shoes this big," added Chairman Fuqua. "However, the Board will diligently proceed to accomplish this difficult task."
Jennings is a career employee of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority with 30 years of experience in aviation management and has held various executive positions with the Authority including Director of Human Resources, Director of Operations and Senior Director of Airports.
A native of Orlando, Florida, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Florida A&M University. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Florida A&M University. Mr. Jennings is retired from the U.S. Army having served on active duty from 1969 to 1973 and in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1978 to 1993. While serving in the military, he attended various leadership and management development courses, including the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
He has been the recipient of awards both nationally and locally for his work at the Authority. For his initiative in developing the Authority's Minority Business Enterprise Program, Mr. Jennings was awarded a Commendation from the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1982. Jennings received the Orange County NAACP Award for Excellence for his efforts in developing opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.
Mr. Jennings is a member of numerous professional associations for the advancement of aviation and airport management. He is currently a member of the Airports Council International (ACI), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), the Tuskegee Airmen and the Southeastern Airport Managers Association (SAMA). He formerly served on the ACI World Aviation Security Committee and the Florida Black Business Investment Board.
In 1992, Mr. Jennings pioneered and implemented a program at Orlando International Airport to provide training and technical assistance to airport officials in Africa. Under his supervision, Orlando International Airport has provided training in civil aviation, security and crisis management to aviation executives from various countries including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Eritrea, Morocco, Tunisia and others.
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