BR.airport0022.011018 bf

Ralph Hennessy, Interim Airport Director, talks about the disaster multiplex facility, which will serve as a regional emergency response staging area Monday Jan. 9, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La. ItÕs been in the works since Hurricane Katrina, when there was a need for a large-scale site to receive big military planes full of supplies. The need was reinforced after the 2016 floods. The new facility will serve an area between Houston and Mobile.

After resigning from the city-parish, interim airport director Ralph Hennessy will take a new job with engineering and planning consulting firm Michael Baker International in their Baton Rouge office.

Hennessy will work on aviation projects throughout the Gulf Coast region, the company announced in a Tuesday morning news release.

Hennessy served as the assistant aviation director at the Metro Airport for over a decade. When former chief Anthony Marino stepped down in 2016, he hoped to take over.

While always seen as a strong contender, the Metro Council decided to hire consultants to perform a national search for a permanent replacement for Marino. After waiting a year and a half, Hennessy last week decided to take the private sector job, saying it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

He will join the firm as the Aviation Services Group Lead for the state of Louisiana, securing funding for capital projects and advising on new business development, strategic planning, allocation planning and operational excellence, the Michael Baker release states.

Meanwhile, the Metro Council is on schedule to hire a permanent airport director on August 8. No one has yet been selected to oversee operations between Hennessy's departure around May 10 and the installation of a new leader.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.