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After 29 years of service, Port of Bellingham Aviation Director Art Choat is retiring at the end of the month. Airport Manager Daniel Zenk is being promoted to Aviation Director, effective December 1.
Choat, who joined the port in 1982 as Harbor Superintendent at Squalicum Harbor, worked in a variety of port management roles in the marinas, strategic projects and the Bellingham International Airport. During his tenure, Choat oversaw numerous large capital projects including the expansion and redevelopment of the entire Blaine Harbor, expansion and redevelopment of portions of Squalicum Harbor, construction of a new airport fire station, the complete reconstruction and paving of the airport runway and the multi-year expansion of the airport commercial terminal.
“Art has provided leadership in nearly every area of the Port of Bellingham,” said Executive Director Charlie Sheldon. “He has been of tremendous service to the entire community.”Before joining the port, Choat worked at Uniflite Boat Builders, Inc., and at Weldcraft Steel and Marine – both on Bellingham Bay.
Zenk was hired as Airport Manager in 2006. In this role, he has taken the lead in managing the Airport Master Plan Update, which is underway. He also has been a leader in the Commercial Terminal Expansion, which also is underway, as well as numerous public parking lot expansions. Zenk worked with Choat and port engineers on the Airport Runway and Taxiway Rehabilitation Project last year.
“Dan has proven his ability to step up and manage the Bellingham Airport during a time of rapid growth and multimillion dollar capital projects,” Sheldon said. “I have confidence that Dan will ensure a smooth transition at the airport.”
Zenk has 19 years of airport management experience. He came to Bellingham after working as the Airport Operations Supervisor at Oakland International Airport in California. Before that, Zenk worked as the Airport Operations Manager at the Hayward Executive Airport, also in California.
Zenk has a Master of Business Administration in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Operations from San Jose State University. He also is a private pilot.
The Bellingham Airport is responsible for nearly 1,000 jobs in our community and it generates over $11 million annually in local business spending. It also provides travelers with non-stop flights to eight different destinations. This year more than 500,000 commercial air passengers will fly out of the Bellingham Airport.