BLI aviation director moving on to Sea-Tac

By Steve Guntli

After almost 10 years, Dan Zenk, Bellingham International Airport’s (BLI) aviation director is moving on.

Zenk has accepted a position at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Zenk has been with BLI since 2006. He was brought on as the airport manager and was promoted to director in 2011.

“I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished here,” he said. “The airport has grown 600 percent since 2004. We’ve accomplished some major capital projects. I’ve seen a lot in the last nine years. It’s been absolutely fabulous. The Port of Bellingham is a great place to work.”

During his stint, Zenk oversaw several high-profile projects. In 2010, the port spent $30 million to expand and reconstruct the runway. In 2014, the port finished a $38.5 million terminal expansion project, which increased the size of the terminal from 27,000 to 104,000 square feet. Most recently, Zenk spurred the construction of a new hotel near the airport.

Airport manager Mark Leutwiler will serve as the interim aviation director while the Port of Bellingham conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.

Despite the rapid expansion, Zenk said his replacement would have to address several challenges, chiefly the airport’s flagging passenger numbers.

“We’re in a bit of a lull with our airline services at the moment, so the person who steps into this role will have to address that,” he said. “They’ll need to try to replace some of the destinations we’ve lost and draw in new airlines. And honestly, the airport is in a really good position to do that. It’s a low-cost airport, which is very attractive to airlines, and there’s an untapped demand to link Bellingham to a lot of other destinations.”

Zenk’s last day at BLI was June 19. He will be a senior manager in Sea-Tac’s aviation operations division. He will start his new position on July 13, after a family vacation to Costa Rica.

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