Jackson Hole Airport’s Board of Directors has signed off on a long-term contract extension and a raise for its top employee, Jim Elwood.
Elwood, who has directed the fast-growing airport since 2014, was previously employed under a contract dating to 2016 that included two five-year terms.
At its meeting in August and again Wednesday, the airport’s board members agreed to initiate the second term early, the result being that their director is now under contract through 2026. There’s also a three-year extension the board can exercise after that, which would keep Elwood with the airport for the next decade.
Simultaneously, Elwood’s salary was increased 8%, which is in the realm of annual raises that have been issued in the past.
The Jackson Hole Airport director’s annual pay started at $170,000 when he took the job five years ago, but that rate increased to nearly $224,000 most recently.
The board’s agreed-to raise for the coming year, which is based on performance, brings Elwood to a salary just shy of $242,000.
Apart from his base salary, Elwood also receives a $1,500 monthly housing allowance, which stems from a contract stipulation requiring that he lives within a 30-minute drive of the workplace. Factored together with his new salary, his total annual compensation comes to $260,000.
The dollars and cents and contract terms were agreed to unanimously, said Rick Braun, airport board president.
“I feel good about Jim’s performance,” Braun said, “and I feel good about the package that we’ve offered him.”
Elwood’s overall pay is “definitely above the middle,” but “not at the top” of the scale in terms of director’s pay for similar-sized airports that fly out comparable numbers of people, said Tony Cross, the airport’s human resources director.
“The amount of capital projects that he oversees right now is really high for an airport this size,” Cross said.
The scope of the airport’s operation and its traveler numbers have grown considerably during Elwood’s tenure at the Jackson Hole Airport.
In the 2014-15 fiscal year, around when Elwood was hired, the airport had a $7.3 million operating budget and handled 313,000 air travelers. Since then the budget has swelled to well over $30 million.
Enplanements have increased steadily, too, with 391,000 people flying a year ago.
Through the first eight months, 2019 is pacing to easily shatter that record mark.