Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority Announces Selection of Executive Director

Ryan Riesinger, Executive Director starts 1-11-16

Ryan Riesinger, Executive Director starts 1-11-16

Following a nationwide search, the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority has selected Ryan Riesinger to be the Executive Director at the Grand Forks International Airport. Riesinger will begin his new position on January 11, 2016.

As the Executive Director, Riesinger will plan, organize, and direct the operations, maintenance, and development of the Grand Forks International Airport. He will also be responsible for community relations, air service development, fiscal oversight and strategic planning.

With a career spanning over 19 years in the airport industry, Riesinger served the past 11 years as the Assistant Manager of the MBS International Airport in Freeland, Michigan.  Previous positions include Operations Supervisor at the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, WI, and Airport Manager at the Worthington Municipal Airport in Worthington, MN.

“I’m honored to have been selected to lead the Grand Forks International Airport,” said Riesinger.  “I look forward to working with the Airport Authority Board, staff, stakeholders, and region as we continue to build upon the strong regional collaboration and success of the airport.”

“We are excited to welcome Ryan and his family to Grand Forks,” said Karl Bollingberg, Chairman of the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority.  “He will be a strong leader for both the GFK team and our community.”

Riesinger holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Airport Management from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He is a Certified Member (CM) of the American Association of Airport Executives and is a licensed private pilot.

Ryan and his wife Beth have two young children.  They enjoy playing and watching sports, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

This search was conducted by ADK Executive Search, a retained executive search firm specializing exclusively in searches for the airport management community.

The Airport is served by Delta with flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Allegiant to Orlando, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, and is a large regional sorting facility for FedEx.  The Grand Forks International Airport has recently been ranked the 22nd busiest airport in the country and is home to the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.


For more information contact:

Karl Bollingberg, 701-795-3381

Holiday Giving: GFK also stands for Gifts For Kids

Gifts for KidsThis holiday season, GFK also stands for Gifts For Kids! In partnership with Grand Forks County Social Services, the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority is collecting gifts for kids in need. If you’d like to participate, please drop off your donation of new unwrapped toys, clothes, hats, mittens, boots, blankets and even gift cards (in small increments) in the collection boxes at the GFK Airport terminal lobby, or in the entryways of Home of Economy or Gordmans in Grand Forks.

Please share this post with your friends to help these deserving kids have a better Christmas this year.  Don’t delay, donate today!

Thank you from the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority
















Grand Forks Airport Executive Director Resigns

Airport Authority Begins Search for New Executive Director

August 3, 2015 – Grand Forks, ND – The Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority today announced that Executive Director, Patrick Dame, has resigned his position effective September 11, 2015.

Dame will be the new Executive Director at the Rapid City Regional Airport in South Dakota. He was selected to replace Cameron Humphres who resigned in January of this year.

The Grand Forks Airport Authority Board has appointed Mary Jo Crystal as interim-director.

In his six years at Grand Forks, Dame has overseen the completion of the fourth runway, the construction of the Byron L. Dorgan terminal, a new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighter (ARFF) building and the Stephen M. “Skip” Rucinski Maintenance facility. During Dame’s time at GFK, United Airlines started non-stop air service to Denver, however, the service ended in December 2013.

Karl Bollingberg, Airport Authority Board Chair said, “Patrick has done a tremendous job for the Airport during his time in Grand Forks. Under his leadership, so much has been accomplished and the airport is a better place as a result of his leadership. We are excited for Patrick and the new opportunity he has in Rapid City, South Dakota.”

According to Authority Executive Director Patrick Dame, “I have really enjoyed my time in Grand Forks over the past six and a half years. The Airport Authority Staff and Authority Board have accomplished so much for your airport and there is still more to do. Thank you to the Community.”

Over the past six years, Grand Forks has increased passenger traffic from 86,000 to a record high of 148,800 in 2013.


Authority Board Member Retires

Clark Cronquist was honored at today’s regular board meeting after stepping down last month from the Authority Board of Commissioners. He was thanked for his 18+ years of service and presented with gifts and cards from Authority staff and board members. Cake and coffee were served while everyone wished him well.

Clark Cronquist Retires

Terminal Displays Global Hawk UAS Model

Global Hawk UAS on display at GFK – photo by Ed Scherpinsky

The newest addition to our terminal building is a 1/5 scale model of the Northrup Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, which we are proudly displaying in our north lobby. Northrup Grumman has a presence at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and we are very appreciative of their generous offer to allow us display this model in our terminal.  The Global Hawk was accompanied by the following narrative:

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk

General History

An Eye in the Sky

On the morning of September 11, 2001, America found itself in a new kind of war. The terrorist attacks that day in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. were not launched by a nation state, but followers of an ideology that operated across borders and often in some of the most remote regions of the world. For this new kind of fight, the United States needed a new way to gather intelligence.

Enter the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, a High Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). By November of 2001, this unmanned aircraft was patrolling the skies above Afghanistan, collecting vital intelligence for troops on the ground. Global Hawk provides military field commanders with persistent near-real-time high-resolution collection over large geographic areas, while operating from bases at a long distance from the targeted collection area.

In the years since it first took flight, the United States Air Force has employed the Global Hawk system in all types of operations, from sensitive peacekeeping missions to full-scale combat. It was the primary intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) contingency for operations during the Libya conflict in 2011 and for response to disasters such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Japan Tsunami in 2011 and the Philippine Island typhoon in 2013. Some models, such as the Block 10 are now primarily used by NASA for scientific research and by the US Navy for maritime patrol. They can fly above the eye of a hurricane or over the polar ice caps without endangering a pilot.  The aircraft are equally effective in tracking vessels for the US Navy.  The USAF now has larger versions of the Global Hawk flying ISR and Communications Relay operational missions throughout the world.  The US Navy is developing a larger version called Triton for future world-wide maritime patrol operations.  NATO is developing a small fleet of Global Hawks in their Alliance Ground Surveillance system.

Remote Control

Like any aircraft, the Global Hawk has a pilot – they just don’t sit in the cockpit. As an unmanned system, Global Hawk is controlled remotely. The Global Hawk system includes a ground segment with a mission control element (MCE) where personnel operate the command and control, mission planning, imagery quality control, and communications functions of the system. The pilot and sensor operator manage the aircraft and its sensors from the MCE shelter, then send data and images to world-wide intelligence centers. Pilots in the launch and recovery element (LRE) load the autonomous flight mission plan into the air vehicle and monitor the operation of the aircraft during its automatic takeoff and landing. Most Global Hawk pilots are based in Beale Air Force Base in California and Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Global Hawk UAS model in GFK’s terminal – photo by Ed Scherpinsky

About this Aircraft

This is a model of a Global Hawk Block 30. The Block 30 carries sophisticated imaging and electronic signals sensors on missions that can exceed 30 hours and collects detailed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information across huge areas of land.

Grand Forks Air Force Base is the home operating base for a different Global Hawk model, the Block 40. The Block 40 has the unique capability to monitor large areas in all weather with the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor, which is an advanced air-to-surface radar for wide area surveillance of fixed and moving targets. MP-RTIP provides game-changing situational awareness and targeting information for warfighters.

Thank You Shout Out to Tim Shea for 23 Years of Volunteer Service to GFK

Tim Shea was recently recognized by the Grand Forks ARFF crew for his many years of volunteer service doing EMS training.

Tim Shea with his plaque recognizing him for his many years of volunteer service doing EMS training at GFK.

Tim Shea from Altru Ambulance has graciously volunteered hundreds of hours of his spare time over the past 23 years to help train our Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) crew in Emergency Medical Service (EMS).  Earlier this month, after Tim announced his retirement, the ARFF crew held a small ceremony to present him with a nice plaque and to thank him for his many hours of service to the airport.





















The Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting crew (past & present) at GFK Airport surround Tim Shea at Tim's recent retirement party.

The ARFF crew (past & present) at GFK Airport surround Tim Shea at Tim’s recent retirement party.  Left to right: Chris Deitz, Andrew Zielike, Lee DeLisle, Paul Litzinger, Wayne Wetzel, Rick Audette, Tim Shea, Mike Peterson, Scott Nelson, Garry Dugan, Ken Gunether, Jerry Aase.






















Grand Forks International Airport terminal one of 5 US airports to receive LEED® Silver sustainable certification

LEED Certification Presentation Oct 24 2013

L to R: Receiving the Silver LEED Plaque: Board Commissioners Gary Malm, Hal Gershman, Brad Beyer, Karl Bollingberg (Vice Chair), Patrick Dame (Authority Executive Director), Tim Mutchler, Clark Cronquist

PRESS RELEASE – GRAND FORKS, ND – October 29, 2013

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Silver certification to the Byron L. Dorgan Terminal at the Grand Forks International Airport. Designed by JLG Architects, it is one of only five international airport terminals in the United States to achieve LEED certification, and one of the first in the Midwest. As such, the Grand Forks Byron L. Dorgan Terminal will become a featured case study on the Department of Energy’s website.

Even more impressively, the building is out-performing its own projections. Designed to lower energy use by 14.2% compared to other relative buildings, energy was actually reduced by 15.7%, or $14,000 a year. This was primarily made possible through the installation of a geothermal system – the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective system for temperature control – which was installed under the parking lot and uses the Earth’s constant temperatures to heat and cool. Inside, a Building Management System monitors and adjusts space temperatures, and the ground floor lobby uses floor heat to keep the space warm from the ground up.

Water use at the Terminal was decreased by 43.1%, or 83,061 gallons a year, which is the equivalent of the usage by 213 homes a day for a family of four. The sinks save a gallon of water per minute, urinals save just under one gallon per minute, and the lavatories save two gallons per minute. Additionally, the landscaping includes native and adaptive plantings that rely on standard rainfall and require no permanent irrigation.

Additionally, studies have shown that superior air quality and comfortable thermal conditions can have a 41% improvement on health and a 15% increase on productivity. At the Terminal, humidity is controlled by two dedicated outdoor air systems that deliver fresh air, and temperatures are regulated to stay between 68-72 degrees for all seasons via automated controls in ten zones.

This is not the first honor bestowed upon the Terminal; it received a 2012 Merit Award for design excellence from the American Institute of Architects North Dakota Chapter.

Byron L. Dorgan Terminal - Grand Forks International Airport

Airport Authority and FedEx Sign New 10-Year Lease Agreement


Grand Forks International Airport Authority inks long-term agreement with FedEx to secure the region’s access to domestic and international markets.


The Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority is pleased to announce that they have signed a 10-year lease agreement with Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) for their North Dakota sort facility.

FedEx flies two Boeing 757’s daily into Grand Forks and sorts cargo into several smaller aircraft and trucks for distribution across the state of North Dakota. The Airport Authority has had a long standing relationship with FedEx dating back to 1984.

As part of the agreement, the Airport Authority has agreed to a 3,000 square foot addition and an $800,000 upgrade to the existing sort facility which was originally constructed in 1991.

Airport Authority Executive Director Patrick Dame says, “The Grand Forks International Airport enhances the community by connecting passengers and commerce to markets beyond the region. The long-term agreement with FedEx helps secure the region’s access to domestic and international markets. We are extremely pleased to have the agreement in place and grateful to FedEx for their work with the Authority in this process.”

Construction of the addition to the sort facility will begin in early July and is expected to be completed in late September or early October of this year.

Business After Hours at Airport had Record Attendance

The Airport Authority hosted a fun Business After Hours event sponsored by The Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Their Progressive Cash drawing was at $2600 and drew a lot of Chamber members, but the airport’s door prizes attracted even more. Courtesy of United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Allegiant Travel – we gave were able to away 6 round-trip tickets including Allegiant’s “Pack Your Bags” instant trip for two to Phoenix/Mesa. In addition, free car rentals and golf accessories were given away courtesy of Hertz, National/Alamo and Avis car rental agencies. The final count for the event was 388 guests beating The Chamber’s previous record of 337.

The food was served in our board room – exquisitely presented by our very own Red River Valley Grill & Market – they went over and above all our expectations! They cater our special dinners and events, and we consider ourselves very lucky to have them. The Red River Valley Grill & Market serves both the secure side and unsecure side of our airport terminal every day from just before the first flight to just after the last departure. Anyone is welcome to come out and try their great menu! You might also enjoy their great selection of novelty gifts and souvenirs.

Photos of the event are currently displayed on our website’s photos page.

Allegiant’s “Campaign” Bus Stops in Grand Forks

Allegiant made a “campaign stop” today in Grand Forks to give away 2 round trip tickets to one lucky voter! A steady stream of 189 people voted for their favorite Allegiant destination between 7-9AM at the polling place (Fuji/Planet Fitness parking lot), and we were very pleased with the voter turnout. Thanks to Clear Channel Radio for helping to spread the word with their live radio remote on all four of their stations.

Just after 9AM, Allegiant announced the lucky winner – Maude Harris will receive roundtrip tickets for 2 to Phoenix/Mesa! Congratulations to Maude! But that’s not all! During September you can still go online to vote at to enter to win their GRAND PRIZE – free flights for 4 years!

Three of Allegiant’s campaign buses are making their way around the country during the month of September, stopping in 77 cities.