August 2, 2008

Toth Picked As Interim President of Agency

By Laren Weber, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

Aug. 2--Longtime Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority employee Paul Toth, Jr., yesterday was named interim president of the agency following the termination of its president, James Hartung.

Mr. Toth, 43, a port authority employee since 1988, is a past director of airports and is currently the port authority's vice president for technical and financing services.

William Carroll, chairman of the port authority's board of directors, said in a statement that he has been impressed with Mr. Toth's dedication and commitment to the agency.

He said Mr. Toth's years of experience will provide the "strong foundation needed to lead the organization" while a national search for a president is conducted.

Mr. Hartung's firing yesterday concluded a port authority investigation into his hiring of a lobbyist with whom he was accused of having an affair.

Eric Barnum, owner of Crow Executive Air, who interacted with Mr. Toth in his role as airports director, said he believes the new interim president has the personality to face any kind of adversity.

"Paul is a very talented and astute businessman," Mr. Barnum said. "[Mr. Toth] seemed to do a great job of bringing many diverse people together to achieve common goals."

Mr. Toth is on vacation and could not be reached for comment yesterday.

As vice president for the port's technical and financing services, he is responsible for overseeing all planning, engineering, development, and construction activities associated with the port authority's multimodal facilities.

He was paid $119,000 when he was appointed to that position in January, 2007.

Mr. Toth also oversees the port authority's innovative financing programs, including the Northwest Ohio Bond Fund, local and regional loan programs in Ohio, and the Small Business Administration.

He has served as past director of new project development and technical services and was the director of Toledo Express Airport and Metcalf Field from June, 2000, to January, 2007.

Mike Boyd, president of Boyd Group, an aviation consulting firm in Evergreen, Colo., has worked with Mr. Toth on several occasions in the last five to six years during his tenure as airport director.

Mr. Boyd called the appointment of Mr. Toth as interim president of the port authority a positive move for Toledo.

"Because he's been [a past director at the airport], he knows the challenges the airport faces, he knows the opportunities the airport faces," Mr. Boyd said. "That's going to be very good for Toledo."

More importantly, though, is that Mr. Toth understands the current struggles of air service, especially those impacting Toledo Express, Mr. Boyd said.

The airport has lost more than half of its daily departures since 2004.

Delta Air Lines announced last month that it will discontinue all passenger service to and from Toledo Express in September. During the same month, Continental Airlines will stop its three daily Continental Connection flights between Toledo and Cleveland.

Mr. Boyd said Mr. Toth has the ability to clearly explain the reasons for those departures to local businesses and community members.

"He understands the whys on those things," Mr. Boyd said.

Mr. Toth earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo in 1988 and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Ohio.

He also is a 2001 graduate of UT's Graduate School of Business with a master's degree in business administration, specializing in finance.

Staff writer Matthew Eisen contributed to this report.

Contact Laren Weber at: [email protected] or 419-724-6050.


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