Around Town: John Wayne Airport director to retire


John Wayne Airport Director Alan Murphy plans to retire this month after about 15 years at the helm.

Murphy began his career with Orange County in 1983 as an accountant in the auditor-controller’s office. In 1985, he became an executive assistant to then-Supervisor Thomas Riley, then moved to John Wayne Airport as chief of special projects in 1986. He was named JWA director in 2000.

During his time with the airport, Murphy was involved in projects including one of the first in-line baggage screening systems in the country and the construction of the Thomas F. Riley Terminal (Terminals A and B opened in 1990, and Terminal C opened in 2011). He also was a big part of the airport’s growth from about 4 million annual passengers in 1986 to 9.9 million in 2007, according to a statement from the county.


“Orange County residents and visitors have greatly benefited from Alan’s competence and innovation, and he’s been steady at the helm during important times that required great leadership,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Spitzer said in the statement. “We are going to miss Alan’s expertise and stature with the community.”

The county also announced that Susan Novak, clerk of the Board of Supervisors, will retire this month. She was named chief deputy of the clerk of the board in 1997 and clerk in 2012.


STEM education conference starts Thursday

Teachers, researchers, community leaders and policymakers will meet Thursday through Saturday in Costa Mesa to discuss the opportunities and challenges of incorporating science, technology, engineering and math into early-childhood education.

The conference, which is open to the public, will be held at the Hilton hotel at 3050 Bristol St. A series of workshops during the event is intended to give preschool teachers and child-care providers training in the so-called STEM education.

On Thursday, speakers will include Greg Duncan, a professor of education at UC Irvine; Linda Christopher, executive director of the Orange County STEM Initiative in Irvine; Lilian Katz, a professor at the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana;Carrie Lynne Draper, executive director of Readiness Learning Associates in Pasadena;Ellen Khoka, founder and former executive director of The Growing Place in Santa Monica; and Tamika Lang, manager of The Boeing Co. in Irvine.

The event is being organized by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, the Children’s Center at Caltech and THINK Together, in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education. Tickets start at $60 for students and $280 for general admission.

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AROUND TOWN is a column about people and events in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine. Please submit information about your fundraiser, charity event or a person deserving attention to or