ACE, SNF Announce New CEO


The Board of Directors for the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) and Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo (SNF) has named Gene Conrad as the organization’s new president and CEO. Conrad has been the airport director at Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL) since 2010. He is set to join the ACE/SNF team on March 7, 2022, and will officially take the helm on April 11 following the retirement of John “Lites” Leenhouts, who has held the position for more than a decade.

“After working closely with Gene as the Airport Manager over the last 10 years I can state without reservation that his heart and passion has been to ensure that the future of ACE and SnF was protected for future growth,” said Leenhouts. “I am looking forward to seeing ACE/SnF reach new heights of success under his leadership.”

Conrad holds a degree in aviation management from Ohio State University. He has previously held positions including deputy director for marketing air service development at Branson Airport in Hollister, Missouri, and air service coordinator and marketing manager at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio. During his time at LAL, he is credited with managing a $200 million capital improvement program, negotiating a 50-year lease with Amazon Air Cargo and leading the relocation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aircraft Operations Center to the airport. 

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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