Mead & Hunt for long-term, Embark Aviation to fill seats soon
An ad hoc committee of two members of Mammoth Lakes Tourism’s (MLT) Board of Directors, comprised of Paul Rudder and Scott McGuire, decided this week to confirm a previous decision by MLT Exec. Director John Urdi, MMSA’s Eric Clark and Town Public Works Director Grady Dutton to award a contract to aviation consultant Mead & Hunt. The contract is for the development of a 5-to-10-year strategic air service plan for the Mammoth-Yosemite Airport.
McGuire and Rudder had decided at MLT’s last Board meeting that they would like to review the Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) from four consulting firms (see “Summer Reading,” August 5) before awarding a contract.
At a special MLT Board meeting on Monday, August 7, both McGuire and Rudder said they were satisfied with the choice of Mead & Hunt, whom a committee comprised of MLT Executive Director John Urdi, Public Works Director Grady Dutton and Mammoth Mountain’s Eric Clark, had decided on previously by using a rating system.
“I feel very comfortable with the direction of Mead & Hunt,” said McGuire on Monday.
The Sheet reviewed an executive summary provided by John Urdi this week which listed the four firms, their strengths, and assigned each candidate a numerical score. Mead & Hunt scored the highest among all four firms. Their cost estimate ($65,520 + $4,500 for a stakeholder meeting in Mammoth Lakes) was also the highest. Another firm, Embark Aviation, provided a cost estimate of $39,000, but was rated third-lowest by the committee.
However, Embark was also recently chosen to act as a marketing consultant for air service in Mammoth, as part of a separate contract. “The Embark agreement will be a one year agreement geared towards filling seats starting this fall,” wrote Urdi in an email to The Sheet. He said that MLT has not signed the agreement with Embark yet but will likely complete it and should know more details, such as the cost associated with the contract, next week.
“The Mead & Hunt agreement is for the 10-year strategic plan which should be completed within the next four months, giving us a guideline for air service for the next decade and beyond,” said Urdi, explaining the difference between the two firms and the services they are providing.
“We are looking for a strategic plan to help us provide consistent and reliable air service,” states the RFQ issued by MLT for the strategic plan. “The Town is engaged in preliminary discussions with Inyo County, the operators of Bishop Airport…regarding the potential of working together to enhance our potential to provide reliable regional air service.”
In the executive summary written by the first committee to review the contracts for the air service strategic plan it was stated that the members (Urdi, Dutton and Clark) “felt [Embark Aviation] were more valuable to us in the marketing effort than the strategic planning.”