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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County Commission picks Spink for airport board after drawn-out selection process

Commercial planes are seen Jan. 11 at the Spokane International Airport.   (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Commercial planes are seen Jan. 11 at the Spokane International Airport.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

After an unusually fraught and lengthy selection process, the Spokane County commissioners on Tuesday chose Brooke Baker Spink as their new appointed representative on the airport board.

The Spokane Airport Board oversees the Spokane International Airport, Felts Field and the Airport Business Park. It includes elected representatives from Spokane and Spokane County, as well as three volunteer appointees.

County commissions and city councils often appoint people to boards and commissions with little debate, but the county’s Spokane Airport Board selection process this year has been an exception.

Collins Sprague, Avista’s senior director of government affairs, served as Spokane County’s appointee for nearly a decade. The commissioners in May reappointed him to another three-year term, through May 2025.

Sprague, however, resigned from the airport board at the end of January. He announced his resignation this summer in response to pressure from Commissioner Al French, the county’s elected representative on the board. French publicly accused Sprague of overstepping his authority as airport board chairman, a claim Sprague denied.

The county commission planned to appoint Sprague’s replacement in January, but delayed a vote twice. The commissioners encouraged more people to apply for the vacancy and interviewed their top five candidates Monday.

Spink, the chief development officer at Baker Construction and Development, emerged as the preferred candidate. She beat out Ignite Northwest CEO Tom Simpson, Haase Landscape founder Clyde Haase, former Avista Regional Business Manager Patty Shea and Washington Technology Industry Association Vice President of Government and Community Affairs Kelly Fukai.

The commissioners unanimously approved Spink’s appointment and said her construction experience will be valuable on the airport board.

French said he liked Spink’s interview.

“I think she said it best when she said, ‘I’m the leadership of the future,’” he said. “I think she’s dead on there. She’s sharp, she’s intelligent, she’s aggressive.”

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