David Nevins Interviews Ricky Smith, Executive Director & CEO of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport

Ricky D. Smith, MBA, is Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA). Appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in 2015, Mr. Smith is responsible for the management and operations of BWI Marshall Airport, Martin State Airport, and regional aviation activities throughout the state of Maryland.

Mr. Smith, a 29-year transportation official, served as CEO of the Cleveland Airport System, which included Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport. Since returning to Maryland, Mr. Smith has led BWI Marshall to four (4) consecutive record-setting years for passengers including restoring BWI Marshall as the busiest airport in the Washington/Baltimore region and one of the Top 10 National Airports for Customer Experience. Establishing a culture of performance, customer service, safety, and innovation, the airport has received several national and regional awards for customer service, capital development, and marketing, including an Emmy Award in 2018. In 2017, the LaunchPad program was started to enable minority-owned micro-businesses the opportunity to participate in BWI Marshall’s thriving food and retail program without barriers to entry. In 2015, he launched the BWI Marshall Youth Initiative aimed at introducing youth in Baltimore City to careers in aviation and transportation. To date, over 200 students have participated in this program.

Prior to his service in Cleveland, Mr. Smith served as the Chief Operating Officer for the MAA, where he helped lead BWI Marshall Airport through a $2 billion expansion program, increased air service throughout the world, and established the creation of a new food and retail program.

Mr. Smith holds an Accounting degree from Howard University and an Executive MBA from Loyola University in Maryland. He is a graduate of several leadership programs, including the Greater Baltimore Committee and Leadership Cleveland. He is active on several national and local boards and industry associations including the American Association of Airport Executives, the Washington Board of Trade, the BWI Business Partnership, World Trade Center Institute, AERO Club of Washington, Greater Baltimore Urban League, the Airport Minority Advisory Council, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, and the Morgan State University School of Communications Board of Advisors.

He has been recognized as a ‘Power 10 CEO’ by the Baltimore Business Journal (2018), ‘People Who Move America’ by the Boys Scouts of America (2018), ‘Thomas G. Newsome Founder’s Leadership Award’ by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (2018), ‘Influential Marylander’ by The Daily Record (2017), and the Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association ‘Black History Hero’ award (2017).

Mr. Smith served as Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on African American Males and President of Black Professional Men, Inc.

Interview questions:

Q1: Pandemic recovery at BWI Marshall Airport is the most robust in the Washington region, and among the best in the northeast U.S. Can you speak to how the airport is recovering from the pandemic’s impact on the travel industry?

Q2: Memorial Day weekend marked a record high in passenger travel during the pandemic. How is your team at BWI Airport keeping passengers safe as we come out of the pandemic?

Q3: BWI recently went through a major expansion. Tell viewers a little bit more about that and what they can expect when traveling through BWI.

Q4: BWI has a Community Partners program that highlights and gives back to local nonprofits. What are some local nonprofits that you have been working with this year?

Q5: Now, I have more of a “fun” question, do you have any exciting summer travel coming up?

Connect with Ricky on LinkedIn

David Nevins is president & CEO of Nevins & Associates, a highly regarded strategic communications company and proactive public relations partner. The firm’s regional and national client base is a unique mix of organizations across a variety of industries including: healthcare, professional service firms, finance, not-for-profits, distributors, state agencies, national media companies, technology, political and grassroots campaigns, real estate development, sporting events, and more.

With more than 30 years of experience in marketing, public relations, and community and government relations, David is a talented and seasoned executive. Prior to founding Nevins & Associates in 1983, David served as the Director of Marketing for both Towson University and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, he was tapped by the CEO of Comcast to employ his marketing expertise as President of the company’s regional sports network, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. David is a Past President of the Board of Governors for the Center Club and is a former Chairman of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland, a position to which he was appointed by the Governor of Maryland. David has chaired the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission and the Maryland Higher Education Loan Corporation, served as President of both the Jewish National Fund and the Towson Business Association and was a member of the PNC Bank board.

David is highly involved in the business, civic, and political communities, and his many years of active leadership in numerous organizations have built a network of contacts that he regularly puts to use for the firm’s clients. For more information, visit www.nevinspr.com.