New airport manager appointed

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 09:33 AM

The Foothills Regional Airport Authority has appointed Brent Brinkley as the manager of the Foothills Regional Airport.

Brinkley, a commercial pilot and multi-engine instrument flight instructor, has worked at the facility for 11 years and has been the interim manager for the last six months.

Brinkley replaces former manager Alex Nelson, who  pleaded guilty to federal embezzlement and corruption charges stemming from a Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on the airport last summer. Nelson was charged along with former operations manager Brad Adkins, who also pleaded guilty in federal court. Neither has been sentenced.

The FBI probe is ongoing.

The Hickory Daily Record reported Monday that the United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina is asking for more time to look into a $25,000 claim that Nelson’s ex-wife, Joy Nelson Brooks, made against Nelson’s property at 4640 Celia Creek Road, Lenoir, which the FBI seized in June.

In another change, Lenoir Assistant City Manager Danny Gilbert is serving as finance officer for the airport’s board.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Department of Aviation estimated the total economic impact of Foothills Regional Airport in 2012 as $3.27 million.

Among the local companies who rely on the airport facilities are Google, Continental Teves, and Catepillar.

These companies use the Foothills Regional Airport for transporting executives, employees and essential air cargo.