A former Army brigadier general was named Friday as the executive director of the Spokane airport.
Gratton O’Neal “Neal” Sealock, 52, will start the job in December if his appointment is approved later this month by city and county officials in Spokane. He fills the vacancy of retired executive director John Morrison.
Airport officials spent more than three months conducting a national search for a new director. Sealock will be paid $118,000 as the airport’s top administrator. The job’s chief duties are overseeing airport growth and expanding cargo and passenger traffic.
The airport’s board of directors, in announcing Sealock’s appointment, praised his managerial experience in the Army and his extensive aviation contacts in this country and in Asia.
Sealock has had a lengthy Army career, including a notable tenure as defense attaché at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. In 2001 he was the key negotiator in obtaining the release of 24 U.S. airmen detained on Hainan Island when their aircraft was forced to land by Chinese officials.
His military posts include being commander of the 1st Aviation Brigade at Ft. Rucker, Ala., a base with 4,000 soldiers and staff.
He also has extensive U.S. diplomatic experience while serving in Australia, New Guinea and Hong Kong. Sealock retired from the military in May.
A rated pilot and aviation instructor, Sealock also speaks Mandarin Chinese.
He grew up in Spokane County and attended Medical Lake High School and Eastern Washington University.
Sealock graduated in 1974 from EWU with a degree in military science. He earned a master’s degree in international relations from Troy State.