Special Districts Group Recognizes Hastert

Santa Maria Airport General Manager One of Four Honored

Being selected for the General Manager of the Year Award wasn’t exactly a total surprise to Chris Hastert of the Santa Maria Public Airport, but he still considers it an honor.

Hastert was one of four county professionals honored recently by the Santa Barbara County chapter of the California Special Districts Association. He was chosen by a vote of the organization’s executive board, which he is a member of, so he knew he was in the mix.  But he was still flattered by the award.  “They passed around the nominations for the award and I was surprised to see my name,” Hastert said. “I was very honored to receive the award. There are quite a few special districts in the county.”

Santa Barbara County has 36 special districts and the CSDA represents 26 of them.

Others honored by the CSDA Santa Barbara County Chapter include: Doug Pike, MNS Engineering, Engineer of the Year Award; Mike Burke, R. Burke Corp., Contractor of the Year Award; and Christa Coski, Goleta Water District, Accountant of the Year Award.

Hastert came to Santa Maria in 2008 after serving as deputy director of Ventura County Airports, which includes Camarillo and Oxnard.

His nomination stems from the great strides Santa Maria Public Airport has made over the past year. In 2012, the airport completed a 1,700-foot runway extension, Hastert worked with Allegiant Air to get passenger service to Hawaii, and a popular go-kart track reopened after a two-year hiatus.

“He’s done an awful lot as the general manager there at the airport district,” said Tony Fox, president of the Santa Barbara chapter of CSDA and a director on the Vandenberg Village Community Services District board. “The runway expansion and go-kart track. On top of that he’s been a fiscally prudent manager so the airport district is very healthy.”

Hugh Rafferty, a former member of the airport board, and the Goleta West Sanitary District both nominated Hastert for the award. Rafferty worked with Hastert for four years.  “He’s a very intelligent guy. He does his homework. He’s very low-key,” Rafferty said. “He doesn’t throw himself out there and say ‘Look at me, I know all the answers.’”

Hastert agreed with “low-key” portion of Rafferty’s description.  “It was nice to be recognized. I don’t toot my own horn too much at the meetings,” Hastert said. “It was very nice to receive that recognition and know that people recognize what’s going on up here.”

12/20/12  By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / bbullock@santamariatimes.com