3 vie for Horry Co. Department of Airports director position

Myrtle Beach, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Three candidates will be publicly interviewed by an Horry County committee Friday, as officials come one step closer to selecting a new director for the Horry County Department of Airports.

Horry County began searching for a new director to oversee the Department of Airports in April, with the assistance of a hired search team from Florida. ADK Executive Search, according to county officials, is a firm that specializes exclusively in searches for airport management.

Candidates Stephen J. Cooke, Michael B. La Pier, and Richard C. Howell, were chosen as the top three candidates from a pool of 82 applicants.

Cook received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University in 1972. Prior to his application for the Horry County position, Cook was employed at Daytona Beach International, Orlando Sanford Airport, Sanford Regional Airport and Orlando International Airport.

La Pier, the current Airport Chief Operating Officer for the Sacramento County Airport System in California, oversees five airports and is currently coordinating a $1 billion terminal modernization program. La Pier previously served as an airport consultant for Will County, IL, and as the executive director of the Central Illinois Regional Airport.

Howell, the third candidate in the trio of applicants, is currently employed as the general manager of the San Luis Obispo County Airports. Previously, Howell served as the director of aviation at Waco Regional Airport, airport director of Southwest Georgia Regional Airport and an airport operations agent at Colorado Springs Airport.

The three candidates will be interviewed Friday at the Myrtle Beach General Aviation Terminal's Conference Room. Horry County officials have not commented on when a final selection will be made.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.