New Aviation Commissioner for Oneida County

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. - The future of aviation in Oneida County is now flying under the guidance of a new Commissioner, according to the Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

Richard Gifford takes over for Chad Lawrence who was filling the position in an acting-capacity following the exit of former Aviation Commissioner Vernon Gray in January. Gray was hired by Oneida County to be Aviation Commissioner for Griffiss International Airport in 2008. At the start of 2012, however, the Oneida County Executive's Office said that they "wish to go in another diection." Lawrence was a support staff member at the time he was asked to fill-in following the aviation commissioner's exit, until a new one was appointed.

The appointment of Gifford to the position came Thursday afternoon.

"Richard Gifford has had a successful military career where he demonstrated success in both management and the aviation field," Picente said. "He also brings valuable experience and proven proficiency in strategic planning, innovative resource management and change management. Griffiss Airport is an important part of our long-term plans for Oneida County. Overseeing the county's aviation operations requires a results-driven leader who can work with both the military and civilian spheres. Richard Gifford has outstanding experience and energy. He can help us capitalize on our investments as we move forward in a new, proud chapter at Griffiss."

"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to join Oneida County, because I know there is an outstanding commitment to make the airfield operation a first-class success and to use the airfield as a springboard for economic development," Gifford said. "Coming from a military background, I know that the bottom line is all about efficiency and doing the most with every available resource. I believe Oneida County is positioned for some outstanding development in its air operations, and I am looking forward to being part of this growth."

Gifford retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Colonel. During his military career he served in a number of high-level positions, including the position of Aviation Program Manager where he supervised over 400 military technicians in 10 facilities across 14 states to support more than 170. In this position he managed a $47 million budget. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from Clarkson University.

The appointment still needs to be ratified by the Oneida County Board of Legislators.

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