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Airport Hires Sharon McGhee As New Diversity Outreach Coordinator
7/1/2015 2:44:14 PM

Sharon McGhee

Henry Fishburne
Staff Reports

Charleston County Airport Authority Board member Henry Fishburne who chairs the board’s Human Resources and Governing Committee says he’s excited about the job the board and staffers are doing to make the airport economically more diverse.

Last month the authority hired Sharon McGhee as its new Director of Community Relations. She formerly was Director of Human Resources. McGhee is a 16-year veteran employee and spent the last three as HR director. In her new role, McGhee will lead the airport’s efforts to achieve diversity in workforce and vendor participation.

Charleston attorney Andy Savage is the board’s chairman. He’s led an effort to insure the airport operates in a manner that is inclusive and promotes diversity in every aspect. Savage conceived the new position which he hopes will led to more diversity in the airport’s economic activities in the future.

In April Savage petitioned other board members to work toward true diversity by establishing McGhee’s position which will be responsible for meeting diversity goals in employment, hiring, senior level management, vendors and contract awards. In an April email he said, “I believe a public entity should mirror the constituency it serves.”

The airport will complete its nearly $200 million makeover at the end of the year. The five-year project initially estimated to cost about $142 million now has a price tag of about $200 million. As of December minority business participation in construction was about 24 percent of the $146 million that already had been spent. Deputy Dir. Jim Peacher said the minority spending goal was 11 percent. The Federal Aviation Authority goal was about eight percent, he said.

Last year the Charleston International Airport generated about $30 million in revenue. Airport officials said minority business participation in the redevelopment project is admirable, but admit minority business participation in the airport’s ongoing revenue source is almost non-existent.

Of the millions of dollars in revenue generated by the airport, Black business participation is limited only to limousine and taxi service. Car rental vendors are the most lucrative at the airport generating almost two-thirds of the total revenue.

McGhee’s job will be to improve that. She said her immediate focus will be on increasing minority recruitment and vendor participation. Fishburne said ultimately he hopes they will develop an airport with a workforce that’s paid well and is reflective of the community.

“I think they’re doing a good job,” said Fishburne who’s been on the board about a year. “There’s been some controversy in the past, but I think we’ve got a good board and are focused now.”

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Roger Clegg, Ctr for Equal Opportunity Submitted: 7/2/2015
The focus should be on finding the best qualified individuals, not on race, ethnicity, or sex. Anything else in divisive and unfair -- and illegal.

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