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Job offer, State of Alaska, airport security


Mission, TX
OK, here I am again feeling sorry for myself late at night and thinking about the good old days of aviation in Alaska. Someone must have clicked that light bulb on again. Thanks.

The thought that came to mind tonight was when I was working for Wien Air Alaska as their station manager at the Deadhorse Airport at Prudhoe Bay Alaska. I had been in the area for several years between Wien, the hotel next door and setting up the first public tour program in the oil patch on the north slope of Alaska. Later I was to go back up to set up an entire new operation for another airline operating Cargo L-188 Electras and Convairs. At one point, I was told that Western Airlines had me tapped for their Station Manager for their new operations into the Deadhorse airport. That was fun but than again, anything I did in aviation was fun.

Anyway back to the story in mind.

At one point, the head of the State Dept of Aviation flew up to Prudhoe Bay to talk to his airport manager I thought. He was going to stay three days he told me when he got off our flight. I knew him but was not a good friend but years later, we became drinking buddies when the sun went below the yard arms. Needless to say, as the local airline manager, I was watching all the Ps and Qs of our operation just in case. Come to find out, that was not what he was looking for but it was good training for my crews. I even invited him over to our terminal for dinner the first night.

On his second day there, he sent the airport manager over to our terminal to ask me to come over to the state office. Hey, when the chief invites a nobody to an audience, you go without asking why.
When I got there, there was a beer or two downed to liven things up so to speak.
Finally he got down to the nitty and gritty. He wanted me to leave Wien and go to work for the State of Alaska Dept of Aviation and plan, set up, install and operate airport security of some 450 secondary state airports in Alaska. This was just when airport security was being tightened up. Talk about spell bound. He gave me 14 days to give him an answer. Boy did that put me in a bad position. I loved working for Wien and especially the Wien family and probably had more authority than almost all over stations managers and just might have been in a position to go into Director of Stations if I could get my boss fired...and looking at the position of VP of ground operations. Wooops, did I really say that? First of all, there was the pay situation. I would take a 50% cut in pay, no free airline transportation world wide (no Hawai'i), no close association with our flight attendants and our one and only female 737 first officer who I was dating at the time. On the other side of the page was the honor of being offered the position over maybe a quarter million people in the state and the responsibility of getting the job done without supervision. Also, the belief that the head of the State Dept of Aviation believed in me enough to offer me the position and give me full authority to set everything up as I desired with more or less no restrictions on cost. He trusted me on that too. Talk about a rough two weeks. Actually, I left most of the airline work up to my assistant manager as I thought it over and talking things over with the heads of ARCO and BP on the slope, both of which I had become very good friends with. Finally, I flew from Prudhoe Bay to Anchorage to talk to him and turned down the job based on cut in pay. When I did, it was a relief but several years later, I was to find out what a mistake I had made. He told me later he had a secretary that really liked me. Part of the opportunities? Story of my life. Day late, dollar short when it came to women.
The only thing that made me feel good was that I was the first to be offered the position.

Kind of like when the VP of the airline with the L-188s that flew to Seattle to con me into going to work for them and setting up a new operation at Prudhoe Bay for them. They even sent me an L-188 Electra to fly my personal property from Seattle to Anchorage. They paid me an unbelievable salary for that time to do it too. Only problem is that I worked so hard that I screwed up my back and now I can only watch and remember but it was sure fun at the time. After all, a person does not live forever anyway.