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LAKELAND, FL (February 14, 2022) – Gene Conrad, Director of Lakeland Linder International Airport has accepted the position of President/CEO of the Aerospace Center for Excellence effective March 7, 2022.  Conrad stated in a letter to the City Manager that he accepted the position after significant reflection of his 12 years with the City of Lakeland.

Conrad said, “I am very passionate about aviation and one of the reasons I originally accepted the position as Airport Director was because of the existence of Sun n Fun at the airport; this opportunity is a natural next step for me professionally. We have been very fortunate to accomplish some incredible things at the airport during my tenure because of the tremendous support that my team and I have received from the City Manager’s Office and the Lakeland City Commission.”

He added, “I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me by the City of Lakeland and I wish the airport team and all the wonderful tenants at the airport nothing but great success going forward.  I also appreciate our partners like the Federal Aviation Administration and the Florida Department of Transportation that invested tens of millions of dollars into Lakeland Linder International Airport over the years. This investment helped us create a hub of activity in attracting the NOAA Hurricane Hunters and the Amazon Cargo Facility.”

City Manager Shawn Sherrouse said, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Gene Conrad, though it’s difficult for the City of Lakeland to lose such a dedicated public servant. He has been an excellent Director at the airport and under his leadership we have accomplished some incredible things.  People may not realize but the airport is its own economic engine providing thousands of jobs and we are at 100% occupancy for all City facilities at the airport. That was not the case a few years ago and a lot of the growth at the airport is a direct correlation to Gene’s leadership. In fact, during Gene’s tenure over $450 million has been invested at the airport and our economic impact to the region has grown from $167 million in 2010 to over $1 billion today. We totally understand that this is a great opportunity for Gene, and I wish him the best of luck in his new position.”

Gene Conrad was hired on January 19, 2010 and makes $173,510 as the Director of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

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