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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Davidson: Busy schedule prompted airport authority resignation

NASHUA – Don Davidson, a former Nashua mayor, career airline pilot and six-year Nashua Airport Authority chairman who helped stave off last year’s planned government closure of the local airport’s control tower, stepped down from his post in July because, he said, he realized he had too many things going on.

“I decided in the spring that it was probably better for me to take a little off my plate,” Davidson said Tuesday by phone from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was deployed by Federal Emergency Management Agency last month to coordinate air travel for FEMA personnel and contractors working to rebuild rural villages hard hit by flooding in 2013. ...

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NASHUA – Don Davidson, a former Nashua mayor, career airline pilot and six-year Nashua Airport Authority chairman who helped stave off last year’s planned government closure of the local airport’s control tower, stepped down from his post in July because, he said, he realized he had too many things going on.

“I decided in the spring that it was probably better for me to take a little off my plate,” Davidson said Tuesday by phone from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was deployed by Federal Emergency Management Agency last month to coordinate air travel for FEMA personnel and contractors working to rebuild rural villages hard hit by flooding in 2013.

“There were too many things I was doing,” Davidson said, adding that he needs to keep his health in mind and was concerned the stresses inherent to running the airport governance board would be detrimental.

“There are a few more things I want to do before I’m relegated to the rocking chair,” he added with a laugh.

Both Davidson and current airport manager Stephen Bourque said authority vice-chairman Dennis Stephens will be acting chairman until a successor is chosen.

While authority members typically elect its chairman at its annual meeting each January, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, who is in charge of appointing members to the board, has nominated Sandra Adams to fill the open seat.

The Board of Aldermen Tuesday night voted unanimously to pass along to the aldermanic Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee Adams’s nomination and several others proposed by Lozeau.

The committee will now review the nomination of Adams, who is the owner of Perimeter Road restaurant Midfield Cafe and the wife of Lenny Cushing, an air traffic controller at the airport.

The measure will then return to the full Board of Aldermen for consideration of final approval.

Davidson, meanwhile, said he announced to his fellow members at the board’s July meeting that he would be stepping down as of July 31.

“There’s no good time to step down, so you just have to pick a time and do it,” Davidson said of his decision to leave with nearly three years left in his term, “When you (leave) before your term is up, I guess you’d call it a resignation,” he added when asked whether he retired or resigned.

Helping him choose July 31 to step down was the fact FEMA contacted him in July for the Alaska assignment.

“Several things came up, that was a major part of it,” Davidson said of the FEMA call.

Bourque said the authority will miss Davidson’s expertise, but understands the reasons behind his decision. “He’s a very busy guy,” Bourque said. “He does a lot.”

Diagnosed with prostate cancer about 13 years ago, Davidson since has made monitoring his health a vital part of his daily schedule. During treatment he learned about, and then joined, the board of the N.H. Prostate Cancer Coalition.

In addition to playing a key role, along with former airport manager Royce Rankin, with saving the airport control tower from sequestration-related closure in April 2013, Davidson also presided over the construction of a new, longer runway, which opened two years ago. The $25 million project, more than a year in the making, created a 6,000-foot runway that allows the local airport to accommodate corporate jets.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).