Harrison County

Coast businessman ready to give back in new role on Airport Authority board

Dave Dennis will be sworn in on the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport Authority on Wednesday.
Dave Dennis will be sworn in on the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport Authority on Wednesday. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

The spot on the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport Authority board is just the latest in a long line of public service by Coast businessman Dave Dennis.

“We’ve gotten a lot out of this community, more than I ever dreamed,” he said. “And I’m game to put back.”

The Harrison County Board of Supervisors appointed him to fill the position held by Travis Lott of Long Beach, who died in July. The term expires Aug. 26, 2020.

The board is the governing body for the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The position pays $40 a month.

Dennis, who owns Specialty Contractors in Gulfport, served three terms as chairman of the New Orleans Federal Reserve Board, and as chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, president of the Gulf Coast Economic Council, chairman of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, state chairman of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee and President Pro Tempore of the Coast Coliseum Commission. He ran for governor in 2011, losing to Gov. Phil Bryant in the Republican primary.

The airport has been on a roll lately, adding flights to Minneapolis and Orlando and landed millions in federal grants for upgrades and repairs.

Dennis said he’s joining a good team at the Airport Authority with fellow board members Clark Griffith and Joe Spraggins, “two extraordinarily credible people.”

“They understand aviation and they understand serious budgets,” Dennis said. “I think the airport under (Executive Director) Clay Williams has been heading in a good direction. I hope my talents can add to that from a business perspective.”

All he said he could promise is hard work and honesty.

“I would never breech the public trust, that’s just the way it is,” he said. “I will serve the best I can for the benefit of the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and the community.”

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton