Reader's view: Ryks' leadership at airport will long be appreciated
Brian Ryks served the air-traveling public at Duluth International Airport through the most turbulent of modern aviation history -- and he served with imagination, tenacity, innovation and crowning success ("Outgoing director Ryks reflects on Dul...
Brian Ryks served the air-traveling public at Duluth International Airport through the most turbulent of modern aviation history -- and he served with imagination, tenacity, innovation and crowning success ("Outgoing director Ryks reflects on Duluth airport's growth, and its future," June 25).
The "Ryks era" encompassed the prop wash of Sept. 11 and the three-day shutdown of all air travel in the United States; the rise of the Northwest maintenance base, its abandonment and its possible conversion to new use; the near-collapse, recovery, then bankruptcy and acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta; and the worldwide financial meltdown and its severe effect upon air travel.
Through it all, Ryks remained a beacon of hope and resourcefulness. He knew facility upgrades were essential to competitiveness -- and he had a new funding list for me every year.
He knew competition keeps an airport attractive to both leisure and business travelers -- and he enticed new service to Duluth.
He realized the award-winning terminal design of 1972 was no longer serving the needs of aviation's security age and vastly increased enplanements -- and he brought me a bright, open-architecture sketch of the new future of Duluth air service. (I stole the funding fair and square from the stimulus program.)
That new terminal, a pledge of continuity for the future of commercial aviation for Duluth and the Arrowhead country -- along with multiple carriers serving Duluth, a new fixed based operator in Don Monaco (which has contributed enormously to the success of the Duluth airport) and a major growth in enplanements -- will be Brian Ryks' legacy. So will the goodwill and upbeat spirit he showered upon us all.
Godspeed to Ryks in his new mission; his leadership and friendship throughout his decade of service here will long be appreciated.
James L. Oberstar
The writer represented Minnesota's 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House from 1975 through 2011.