BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and its Executive Director, Ricky Smith, were honored by Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) with two industry awards that recognize commitment and achievement in diversity in the aviation industry.
BWI Marshall was presented with ACI-NA’s Large Hub Inclusion Champion award, an annual honor that celebrates proactive and innovative steps taken by large airports to foster diverse businesses, workforce diversity, outreach, and advocacy. ACI-NA highlighted BWI Marshall’s demonstrated commitment to maximize local and minority business participation. In 2017, BWI Marshall partnered with its concessions developer to establish LaunchPad, a program encouraging new small, minority businesses at the airport.
BWI Marshall was also honored by ACI-NA for work to expand recruitment efforts and increase workforce diversity. The organization noted that, since 2015, women in executive management increased 129% at the airport, and racial diversity has increased among executive and senior management 300% and 64%, respectively. Since 2015, the airport has sponsored a Summer Youth Initiative to introduce underrepresented students to the aviation industry and stimulate career interest. More than 250 students from Baltimore City have been exposed to different airport operations.
“This honor confirms my pride in the many stellar professionals that hold BWI Marshall to be their employer of choice,” said Smith. “I have always held the belief that this airport is supported by many of the most competent and dedicated professionals in the industry. This honor recognizes our commitment to maintaining a diverse team that is actively engaged in driving performance excellence. As we strive to ‘be better,’ we will pursue every effort to continue living up to the principles of this award.”
ACI-NA also announced Smith as the recipient of its 2020 Leon C. Watkins “Guardian Award” for Excellence in Business Diversity. This new honor recognizes a leader who has promoted growth and evolution of minority- and women-owned businesses and suppliers, while also fostering advancement of civil rights and equal opportunities for all within the airport business environment.