WASHINGTON — A former Secret Service official with extensive experience in Southern California was named federal security director at John Wayne Airport on Monday by the new Transportation Security Administration.
Ashley G. "Skip" Williams helped draw up and carry out the security plan for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the new agency. As head of the Los Angeles field office of the Secret Service, Williams supervised more than 150 agents in Southern California and Nevada. He retired from the agency in 1985 after 20 years of service.
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) said in a statement that Williams' experience would be a "great asset" for the airport. "I look forward to working with him to balance strong security with common-sense accommodation for the traveling public," Cox said.
Security directors are considered the linchpins of the new federal presence at 429 airports with scheduled airline service. They are supposed to function like police chiefs, balancing security objectives with the concerns of airport users. They will report directly to the agency's Washington headquarters. Starting salaries range from $105,000 to $150,000.
Williams will be in charge of the federal security screeners who take over from private employees at John Wayne this year. He will also supervise special agents responsible for the airport's security plan, including the safety of baggage, airport employees and facilities.
After leaving the Secret Service, Williams held senior corporate security jobs, including stints with Texas Instruments and, most recently, Gateway. He was director of corporate security for the computer maker, responsible for planning and operations worldwide.
Williams will start in early July.