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Airport may land Greg Larsen

February 24, 2001

Airport may land Greg Larsen



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


First Greg Larsen helped coordinate the Battle of Antietam re-enactment. Then he helped market the county's pre-treatment plant.

Next: Working on business development at the Hagerstown-Regional Airport?

That's the question for the Washington County Commissioners as they consider county personnel requests as part of the annual budget process.

The personnel requests, including Larsen's job change, will be officially proposed to the County Commissioners on Tuesday. County Administrator Rodney Shoop announced at the commissioners' Feb. 20 meeting this would be Larsen's next job assignment, pending commissioners' approval.

Since 1997, Larsen, 45, of Martinsburg, W.Va., has been the marketing coordinator for the controversial, debt-ridden Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility.

He is looking forward to the possible assignment at the airport, he said Thursday. He said he almost always flies out of the airport.

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Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said she is pleased Larsen may work with the airport.

His tasks will include talking to the businesses located there as well as with pilots in the region about maintenance at the Hagerstown airport, Motz said Thursday.

His main task will be ensuring that officials of Chautauqua Airlines, which operates US Airways Express in Hagerstown, are pleased and plan to stay, Motz said. He will also work to get a second airline at the airport, she said. The goal is to increase options for airport users.

Shoop praised Larsen for "his enthusiasm and strong marketing skills." That has helped Larsen at the pretreatment plant and will aid him at the airport, Shoop said.

Last summer Shoop and Motz talked about Larsen working on airport-related tasks for about one day a week and Larsen agreed. That has since increased to about two or three days a week, Larsen said. He would switch to working full-time at the airport if the position change is approved.

Larsen was hired in September 1994 to work at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau as a sales representative. He worked there for two years.

After the bureau became privately operated, Larsen was left without a government job. He was allowed to finish coordinating the 135th Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam.

Meanwhile, he heard about the marketing position at the pretreatment plant and decided to apply for it, he said.

The Washington County Sanitary District built the plant to spur economic development. It treats and dilutes a variety of industrial wastes before they enter the regular sewage treatment plant.

Washington County dismantled the independent district and created the Washington County Water and Sewer Department in 1995. Decisions by the Sanitary Commission, including construction of the plant, left the county more than $50 million in debt.

The plant is part of the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Complex in the Interstate 70/81 Industrial Park northeast of Williamsport.

The facility is getting wider attention and more respect in the industry, Larsen said. Every week a new company calls to ask about the plant's offerings and capability, he said.

"The results of the work I started will carry on and the facility will continue to succeed. We put it on the map," he said.

Letting people know the plant exists and can help companies was one of Larsen's tasks, he said.

The improvements are due to several factors, including "hard-core marketing work" and partnering with Spirit Services, he said. As part of that public-private partnership, Spirit Services treats and recycles oily wastes. The company has been operating in Washington County since about August 1998 on space leased from the county at the plant.

Greg Murray, water and sewer director, praised Larsen's work.

"As part of the effort to make the pretreatment plant self-sufficient, Greg's marketing efforts have significantly increased the customer base and helped facilitate opportunities for public-private partnerships, which have taken revenues from $100,000 a year in 1997 to in excess of $1 million in fiscal 2001," Murray said

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