FALLS CREEK — The Clearfield-Jefferson Counties Airport Authority, at its most recent meeting, selected GAI Consultants of DuBois as the engineer for a five-year term commencing July 1.
“As required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the authorities at least, past, present, and what appears to be for the future here, you can go up to five years in advance for engineering selection on projects that you propose to have at your facility,” said DuBois Regional Airport Manager Bob Shaffer.
Shaffer said the Request For Proposal was based on ability and past performance.
“There’s a whole list of criteria that’s involved in an engineering and selection process. Cost is not one. You’re not allowed to consider cost in any of your discussions,” said Shaffer. “The authority advertised this as what’s required in a local newspaper. We also reached out to probably four or five engineering firms, and we received two submittals. We had a very specific request to what we’re looking for, so that it was not easy, but at least there was some semblance of organization for the authority to go down through, and look, and compare, and make an educated decision on what they wanted to do for the future.”
The authority also brought in the two companies that submitted a proposal and allowed them to do a presentation to the authority, both in-person or virtually, depending on the authority member’s preference, said Shaffer.
“In my opinion, we received two excellent presentations and submittals,” said Shaffer. “The authority reviewed those and has filled out a rating form as required.”
Authority Chairman Jay Chamberlin noted that the interviews with GAI and McFarland Johnson, also with an office in DuBois, were open to all authority members.
“There were a number of us who attended those presentations,” said Chamberlin. “And afterwards, we completed the rating of each of those, and as Bob had said, two very qualified companies. We’re glad that we’re able to see the qualifications of the company and their interest in the DuBois Regional Airport. GAI, our present engineer, actually scored slightly better than McFarland Johnson.”
“This is for a five-year agreement,” said Shaffer. “There’s nothing to say as we move forward ... if you’ve got a project that’s a very specific or special project that you couldn’t walk in and redo this, you can actually do that on each individual project ... the FAA allows the authority to do that. But because of the projects we have, and what we had looked forward that five years, we don’t have any large projects coming. It was thought that fitting them for a five-year period, as we have done in the past, was very acceptable. In our FAA grants that we get, we get $150,000 a year unless we get discretionary money. So our projects are relatively small projects, easy to forecast on what they will be.”
“I just wanted to comment that I attended in person that both the presentations, and both firms are well qualified for what they do,” said authority board member Joe Varacallo. “I didn’t realize at first that GAI goes back to the origination of the airport. I mean, how many years is that?”
Shaffer said it’s about 50 years.
“Longevity — that speaks volumes to me,” said Varacallo.