Alaska Aerospace’s search for new Spaceport CEO under way

The search is ongoing for a new chief executive officer for Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which oversees the Kodiak Pacific Spaceport Complex on Narrow Cape. That’s after the state-owned company’s last CEO, Milton Keeter, abruptly left the position back in March. 

Kodiak’s Pacific Spaceport Complex on Narrow Cape, November 2022 (Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)

Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe is the commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the commander of Alaska’s National Guard. He also sits on Alaska Aerospace’s board of directors. He said one of the board’s top priorities as it looks for new leadership is to improve communication with the Kodiak community. 

“We’re obviously hoping to find somebody with leadership experience with community involvement. Someone who is very comfortable with getting up in front of a group and talking about, ‘This is the operational goal, but we want to hear input from the community,’” said Saxe.

Alaska Aerospace faced criticism last summer from some residents for frequent road closures near the Spaceport complex, which is also located near popular beaches.  

The facility has also been rebuilding and repairing some infrastructure that was damaged when a rocket crashed near the complex back in January. Saxe said Keeter’s departure has not delayed the cleanup, and work is – so far – ahead of schedule.

Saxe will be in Kodiak in mid-May. He’ll meet with local government officials and visit Kodiak’s National Guard armory and the Spaceport complex during his trip. He also plans to speak with members of the community while he’s in town. 

“It is a mistake to not go forward as a team,” he said. “And that is my number one priority. When I come out, yes, I will be talking to folks, but I’m there more to listen.”

Saxe said the board hopes to start reviewing candidates for Alaska Aerospace’s chief executive position in the next month. 

Meanwhile John Cramer has been tapped as acting chief executive – Cramer previously led Alaska Aerospace in an interim capacity between CEOs back in 2021.

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