Picou accepts offer for Lafayette Regional Airport director’s post _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Steven Picou was named Director of the Lafayette Regional Airport during a special meeting of the airport commission Tuesday in Lafayette.

Steven Picou is the new director of Lafayette Regional Airport, following a unanimous vote Tuesday by the airport’s governing board to hire him for the position.

Picou, 43, will make $125,000 a year and receive up to $10,000 to relocate from Amarillo, Texas, where he is currently serving as deputy aviation director of that city’s airport.

Picou was not offered a contract with set dates of employment, according to an agreement letter on his hiring. Picou will work as an at-will employee. The agreement also states the commission will review Picou’s job performance in January 2016.

The commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to hire Picou according to those terms. Two commissioners, Tim Skinner and Valerie Garrett, were unable to attend.

Picou, a native of Cut Off who has family in south Louisiana, has served as deputy aviation director at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport since 2008. Picou has held similar aviation positions in New Orleans and Albuquerque.

He told The Advocate this week that the job in Lafayette offered him a chance to move up professionally and to return to Louisiana, where his wife’s mother also resides.

Picou said Tuesday that he wants Lafayette Regional to become “the best airport in Louisiana.”

Picou has stated he’ll begin the job in Lafayette on March 9, but commission Vice Chairman Paul Guilbeau said Tuesday that he hoped Picou would start sooner.

The director position became vacant when longtime Lafayette aviation boss Greg Roberts resigned in June. Thirty-four applicants sent résumés seeking the position, a list the commission pared to three by early January before offering Picou the job last week.

The new director is taking over at a busy time that will get even busier. Construction continues on a Bell Helicopter assembly plant on airport grounds, as well as other construction.

The commission also is in the planning stages of constructing a larger commercial passenger terminal expected to cost $90 million. The multiyear terminal construction will not be directly overseen by Picou, but the director is expected to be heavily involved.