Six vie for Santa Maria Airport Board vacancy

By Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com Santa Maria Times | Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011

Six men have applied to fill the vacancy on the Santa Maria Public Airport board of directors left by the death of Ted Eckert.

One is a past board member and another finished third in the November 2010 election, when only two seats were up for grabs.

The board meets at 7 tonight in the Administration Building at the airport.  The directors will consider the applicants and appoint one of them to fill the position that has been vacant since June 7.

Airport General Manager Chris Hastert said each applicant would have a chance to address the board and then the members will discuss their qualifications and make their decision.  “They could pick one (tonight), if that’s what they decide to do, or they could hold it over for more discussion,” said Hastert.

Applicants include:

  • Denis Breslin, a private pilot for the past nine years, Breslin is an orbital analyst for NASA at Vandenberg Air Force Base and a captain in the California Air National Guard.

Breslin is also a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

  • Girard Brenneman, a Santa Maria dentist and pilot with 38 years experience. Brenneman is also a veteran of Santa Maria Airport Board elections. He finished third in voting in the November 2010 election behind top vote-getter Chuck Damiano and Eckert.

Brenneman also ran in 2008, again finishing just one place out of a spot on the board behind Hugh Rafferty, Chuck Adams and Carl Engel when three seats were available.

  • Ken Dally, a high-tech business owner who has been a private pilot for the past 30 years and has an airplane hangared at the airport.

Prior to moving to the Santa Maria Valley, Dally was a board member of the Big Bear City Council, Regional Wastewater Agency and Chamber of Commerce where he served as chairman from 2005-2009.

  • Richard Jensen, who has been involved in aviation as a pilot, instructor and manager for more than 40 years. His management experience is in federal aviation regulations operations.

For the past 20 years, Jensen has worked as an FAA safety representative to local, regional and national agencies. He is employed as a computer technician in the Orcutt Union School District.

  • Timothy Larson, a Santa Maria native who is a local Realtor and business owner.

Larson has bachelor’s degrees in history and business administration from the University of San Diego. He also has served on the Santa Maria Landmark Committee since February 2010.

  • Donald Lahr, the owner of Lahr Industrial Welding in Santa Maria since 1982. Lahr was elected to the airport board in 2004 and served one term.

Lahr has also been a board member on the Santa Maria Economic Development Association, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Maria and the Santa Maria Valley Contractors Association. He is also a member of the Hancock College Welding Advisory Council and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Posted in Local on Thursday, July 14, 2011

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