Deputy Executive Director – Airport Operations at Los Angeles World Airports

Website Los Angeles World Airports

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is currently seeking a Deputy Executive Director, Airport Operations.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is the City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports. Both play an integral role in helping to meet the Southern California regional demand for passenger, cargo, and general aviation service.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is a self-supporting department of the City of Los Angeles, governed by a seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners. The Board is comprised of public-spirited business and civic leaders appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. By the Charter of the City of Los Angeles, the Board is responsible for the formulation of airport policy.

LAWA owns and operates Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports. Both play an integral role in helping to meet the Southern California regional demand for passenger, cargo, and general aviation service. Both airports make a distinct contribution to the strength of the system as it provides a high level of safety, security, and service for its customers, communities, and stakeholders.

As the aviation authority for the nation’s second largest city and hub of one of the world’s most populous metropolitan areas, LAX welcomed a record 88 million passengers in 2019, with more than 62 million being domestic and over 25 million via international. In terms of airport rankings, in 2019 LAX was the number one origin and destination airport in the world, the second busiest airport in the US, and the third busiest airport (passengers) in the world. Before February 2020, LAX air traffic was growing steadily at approximately five percent per year over the past 12 years.

LAWA’s organization structure consists of six separate, major groups which employs approximately 3,100 full-time, civil service employees. LAWA also has a small contingent of consultants under contract to help manage its capital and information technology improvement projects.

LAWA works closely with other government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), City of LA departments, and neighboring cities just to name a few. LAWA also works closely with its tenants, airlines, contractors, and service providers to ensure compliance with all Federal, State, and local laws, rules, policies etc. Depending upon the laws or rules involved, these coordination efforts are divided among the various groups within LAWA, such as Operations and Maintenance, Development, Finance, Corporate Strategy and Affairs, Sustainability and Revenue Management, Safety and Security.

For more information regarding LAWA, please visit: LAWA


The Position

The Deputy Executive Director’s primary role is to direct, monitor, and coordinate all Airport Operations functions at LAX and VNY through subordinate managers at LAWA. The DED Airport Operations will develop, plan, and execute programs related to airfield and terminal operations along with ground transportation at LAX. Furthermore, this position will be required to proactively coordinate operational conflict points among stakeholders and identify solutions to ensure smooth airport operations and enhance the overall guest experience.

The Deputy Executive Director, Airport Operations is a full-time position and is a member of the executive team who reports directly to the Deputy Executive Director, Operations and Maintenance. This position advises LAWA Executive Management on related Airport Operations plans, programs, and services; prepares and presents comprehensive written and oral executive reports to committees and the Board of Airport Commissioners; assists with identifying and resolving various issues in on-going Airport Operations and associated projects; establishes and maintains cooperative working relationships with those contacted in the course and scope of work; and supervises, mentors, and trains subordinate personnel.

Under the direction of the Deputy Executive Director, Operations and Maintenance, the DED Airport Operations directs and administers Airport Operations programs for LAWA at LAX and VNY in accordance with the mission, goals, and objectives as provided by the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Airport Commissioners. This position also carries the responsibilities of ensuring compliance with all Federal, State, and local laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to airport operations.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Oversees the planning, organization, and overall direction of the work regarding LAWA Airport Operations to ensure safe, effective, and efficient operations
  • Directs the operational inspection of airport facilities including terminals, airfield, buildings, and all landside operations
  • Provides support to the Deputy Executive Director, Operations and Maintenance with long and short-range planning by forecasting for operational needs.
  • Develops sound and rational recommendations and solutions to difficult operational issues that arise
  • Coordinates with the Director of Facilities Management to ensure proper maintenance and needed repairs and improvements are completed in compliance with the FAA standards and in support of operational requirements
  • Plans, develops, and formulates the annual Airport Operations budget as well as monitoring expenditures to ensure the group stays within the allotted budget
  • Oversees Airport Operations contracts and ensures that the group follows Federal, State, and local laws, regulations, and rules regarding procurement and contracts for Airport Operations
  • Reviews operational reports and studies and keeps current on the latest trends, technologies, improvements, and FAA circulars regarding Airport Operations
  • Professionally represents LAWA Airport Operations at meetings and events
  • Demonstrates the ability to establish trust with management, staff, and stakeholders through a commitment to LAWA’s ethical standards
  • Serves as a trusted advisor and builds and maintains relationships through positive diplomatic approaches with other executives and leaders
  • Develops a safe, effective, and efficient operational strategy
  • Participates, coordinates, and works with LAWA’s technology teams on data management and analytics strategy, biometric and identity management, and other technologies and information systems to improve Airport Operations


The Candidate

LAWA is seeking a Deputy Executive Director, Airport Operations who is strategic and has strong organizational and interpersonal skills.

Competencies & Areas of Expertise

  • Demonstrated experience in airport operations at a large or medium-hub airport
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of aviation facility operation and development
  • Proven track record in successful aviation management with US airports
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of FAA Regulations Part 139, FAA Advisory Circulars, Code of Federal Regulations Part 1542, and FAA Airport Improvement Program grant process and assurances; knowledge or ability to quickly learn California Aeronautics Program regulations
  • Significant knowledge and understanding of general aviation airport operations
  • Demonstrated ability to formulate and understand complex airport operations budgets
  • Hands-on, the ability to work under pressure and maintain emotional self-control, providing leadership during crisis management situations
  • Strong communication, listening, presentation, and influencing skills; ability to communicate complex issues to a variety of audiences
  • Excellent leadership, coaching, and mentoring skills with proven ability to succeed in a complex stakeholder environment, with strong relationship building and influencing skills and the ability to drive improvement
  • Be steady under stress and in dealing with ambiguity and demonstrates a high degree of gravitas Executive Decorum
  • Solid understanding of “safety first” issues
  • Ability to develop talent and cultivate innovation within the department and throughout the organization while driving engagement and executing the department’s vision
  • Demonstrated ability to navigate and network across an enterprise utilizing internal and external resources
  • Exceptional analytical, problem solving, and strategic thinking skills
  • Excellent conflict resolution and crisis management skills
  • Detail oriented and highly organized
  • Ability to ensure projects are followed through to completion
  • Ability to listen, learn, and creatively build solutions; must work effectively and thrive in a collaborative culture
  • An enthusiasm for people, a collegial management style, and possess a high degree of emotional intelligence (EI)
  • Unquestioned reputation for ethics and integrity on a personal level, and as an unwavering commitment in leadership practice; experience dealing with sensitive issues in a confidential and discreet manner
  • A deep personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a commensurate respect for all peoples and communities
  • Possesses a good sense of humor
  • Have an appreciation for and understanding of the leadership qualities needed in a pandemic environment

Essential Qualifications

The ideal candidate must have a bachelor’s degree. Possessing a master’s degree is a significant plus. He/She will have a minimum of five (5) years of experience in airport operations, plus additional senior level management experience in airport/airline operations and airport emergency response management.

He/She must be a US citizen and be capable of passing a US Federal background check and obtaining and maintaining a LAWA Security identification badge. The candidate must also obtain and maintain a California Driver’s License. The selected candidate must have the ability to relocate to the Los Angeles, CA area.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and the City of Los Angeles is an equal employment opportunity employer. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, sex, gender identity, or other protected background.


How to Apply

To apply, please submit a comprehensive CV along with a cover letter which sets out your interest in the role and encapsulates the aspects of your experience relevant to the required criteria. Please include the names and addresses of three references. References will not be approached until the final stage of the search and not without prior permission from a candidate.

The Officer in Charge of this engagement is Tim McNamara, Vice Chairman & Partner and Head of Odgers Berndtson’s Transportation & Infrastructure Practice. He will be assisted by Linda Kearschner, Principal and Judy Whitaker, Project Coordinator. To apply, please send your resume with cover letter to


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