SLO County airports' manager doesn't get job at Myrtle Beach airport

San Luis Obispo County airports General Manager Richard C. Howell will not take over as head of Myrtle Beach International Airport, according to that community’s newspaper, The Sun News.

Howell was a finalist for the job, along with Stephen J. Cooke, director of business development for Daytona Beach International Airport in Florida and Sacramento County airports COO Michael B. La Pier.

The Horry County administrator announced Tuesday that it offered the job to La Pier. Cooke was also offered the job if La Pier declines the offer, The Sun News reported.

Howell replaced Klaasje Nairne — who led the county’s two airports in San Luis Obispo and Oceano for 19 years — as airport manager in September 2008. Since then, he has presided over a struggling enterprise.

Because of the recession, the local airport has had to cut back on expansion plans for both a terminal and parking garage and has been seeking to lure new carriers even as ridership declines.

Howell, who graduated from high school in Santa Barbara, has worked for numerous airports, including facilities in Waco, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany, Ga.

He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. with a degree in aeronautics and is a certified accredited airport executive.

He served in the U.S. Air Force as a command airfield manager. He was discharged in 1992.