From the U of I News Bureau

U of I appoints new Willard Airport executive director

CONTACT: Mike Helenthal, Assistant Editor, Inside Illinois 217-333-5491; email

CHAMPAIGN -- The new executive director of the U. of I.'s Willard Airport has more than 25 years airport management experience.

David "Gene" Cossey (COO-zee) was named the airport's executive director Oct. 20 following a national search led by a university-appointed committee. He will start Dec. 7.

"Gene stood out very early in the process as someone who was not only capable of managing Willard Airport, but one who could improve its operations and take it successfully into the future," said Associate Chancellor Michael DeLorenzo.

Cossey is the director of operations at Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.

Prior to that, he was the senior manager of airside operations at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the airport director at Newport Municipal Airport in Oregon and the airport operations manager at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport.

Cossey has a bachelor’s degree in business management and information systems. He is an Accredited Airport Executive through the American Association of Airport Executives, and an International Airport Professional through the Airports Council International. 

Cossey's experience includes airport and economic development, intergovernmental affairs, grant writing, budgeting and negotiation, and community outreach.