Donald "Ralph" Gibbs has been working in aviation for over 30 years, both in the military and as a civilian. Starting Monday, he will be the interim manager at Anchorage's Merrill Field airport.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz named Gibbs the new manager less than two weeks ago. In a sit-down chat with KTVA 11's Daybreak, Gibbs explained that he had his first round of confirmation hearings on Thursday at City Hall.

Gibbs says his focus, right now, is on community outreach and listening to the concerns of area residents. He'll also address safety and security concerns.

Gibbs won't have to travel too far when he takes the reins at Merrill Field. He has been the director of aviation at the University of Alaska Anchorage since 2016.

"The aviation program is one of the residents of the airport," explained Gibbs. "So I've been familiar with airport operations, working with the staff. But I would say that probably my time as an air station executive officer... in the Marine Corp probably better prepared me for this job."

A final confirmation hearing is set for late October at the City Council meeting.

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