The next general manager of San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport will bring more than 10 years of experience from Tahoe to the job.
Kevin Bumen, the director of aviation and business services at Truckee Tahoe Airport, was selected to run the airport in San Luis Obispo County from a panel of eight final candidates.
Bumen, who will make $110,052 annually, must first pass background and medical requirements before the hire is official. A formal announcement is expected in the next few weeks, said Janette Pell, director of the county General Services Agency.
Pell said the skills that led Bumen to be selected as the top candidate were his demeanor, understanding of the community and field experience.
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Bumen graduated from Cal Poly in 1996 with a degree in tourism, parks and recreation administration, and has worked at the Truckee Tahoe Airport the span of his career, working his way from an operations and maintenance technician to the director of aviation.
“Kevin’s qualifications will support and complement existing airport staff, the county and the community,” Pell said.
Bumen, expected to start in mid-November, will immediately begin working on the airport’s plans for building a new $25 million terminal and recruiting a route to Denver. He will also be expected to mend and improve relationships with airport tenants, Pell said.
“We have a lot of leases coming due, and I get the sense that a lot of general aviation people didn’t feel understood or listened to,” said Pell.
The Truckee Tahoe Airport District, which oversees about 4,000 acres, does not have commercial flights. The airport is mainly used for personal, private and charter uses.
“The commercial flights are the one thing we don’t have here and the piece I am looking forward to,” Bumen said.
The Economic Vitality Corporation has been busy enlisting local business support to persuade United Airlines and its feeder airline to add a daily flight to and from Denver at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
Bumen said that he would join EVC President Michael Manchak in Chicago in November to talk with United Airlines.
“It is a really important flight for the airport,” Bumen said.
Pell said she wasn’t concerned that Bumen did not have direct experience with commercial flights because other airport staff are skilled in airport operations and will complement him in that area.
Kevin Smith, general manager of the Truckee Tahoe Airport, has worked with Bumen for three years.
“He is one of the best critical thinkers I have ever met,” Smith said. “When it comes to the dynamics of aviation, he is an excellent technical thinker.”
Bumen said that he and his wife, whom he met at Cal Poly, have always known they wanted to return to San Luis Obispo.
“We both love it,” Bumen said. “It is where our kids were born, and we both have so many great memories of the area.”