Nummilien is new airport manager

ESCANABA — Delta County Airport has found its next manager. Members of the Delta County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of hiring Andrea Nummilien — the airport’s assistant manager — to fill the airport manager position during the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.

Nummilien has been working in the assistant manager position since February. She was previously employed by Envoy Air as a maintenance base coordinator from May 2017 to June 2018 and by Besse Forest Products as an administrative assistant from June 2016 to May 2017.

In 2015, Nummilien received a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Northern Michigan University. She is currently working to earn a master degree in public administration from the same school.

At a meeting Monday, the airport advisory board voted to recommend Nummilien be hired for the airport manager position after a lengthy discussion. Based on the recommendation, interim County Administrator Tom Sabor interviewed Nummilien; then, he recommended she be hired, as well.

Members of the Delta County Board of Commissioners and Sabor talked about the recommendation Tuesday.

“During the meeting, we discussed the pros and cons of, basically, looking at the internal candidate or going on the outside for a search,” Sabor said.

Ultimately, the airport advisory board voted 4-1 in favor of recommending Nummilien be hired. The one vote against making the recommendation came from Delta County Board of Commissioners Chair Patrick Johnson, who said he wanted to “cast a larger net” in the hiring process for the airport manager position.

“I believe she could be the right candidate. She has a lot of great attributes,” he said.

Sabor said Nummilien’s experience at Delta County Airport would be a boon for the county.

“Right now, we have a continuity problem with two positions — the airport manager and this one,” he said, referring to the position of county administrator.

Additionally, Sabor contacted former county administrator Philip Strom to discuss the hiring process for the airport manager position. According to Sabor, Strom said he would be comfortable with Nummilien entering this role.

Sabor also received input from Transportation Security Administration officials and general aviation users at the airport about potentially hiring Nummilien as airport manager. He said this received support from representatives of both groups.

“I did my homework — I wanted to make sure we had the right person involved,” Sabor said.

Commissioner David Moyle said, while he had held some doubts about hiring Nummilien for the position, Sabor’s research convinced him otherwise.

“To listen to the litany of things you just said — that really swayed me towards this,” he said.

The possibility of hiring Nummilien on a probationary basis was discussed, but Sabor said this would not be necessary.

“All the people who are in a non-union position are at-will,” he said.

Jeffery Sierpien, Delta County Airport’s current manager, will be staying at the airport for a while to train Nummilien in. He will stay at the airport for between one and two months, Nummilien said.

Nummilien’s salary as airport manager has not yet been determined. This is expected to be a topic of discussion at a future board of commissioners meeting.

Nummilien voiced her appreciation to the county board for hiring her as the airport’s next manager.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity and humbled by, I guess, the faith people have put in me,” she said.

She also thanked Sierpien for his support.

“(He’s) worked with me since day one and been an amazing mentor,” Nummilien said.