ACI-NA Announces Recipients of 2014 Environmental Achievement Awards

July 31, 2014


WASHINGTON – Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) earlier this month announced the winners of the 2014 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards, which recognize airports that strive to protect and preserve the environment through dedicated programs, initiatives, and projects. This year’s recipients include Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Port Columbus International Airport, San Diego International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport.

“Each year, North American airports strive to design and implement better and more comprehensive strategies to protect and preserve the environment,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “Protecting the environment is more than just the right thing to do, it also makes great business sense because we know that green and sustainable business habits reduce operating costs.  The recipients of the 2014 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards are true leaders in environmental best practices, and I congratulate them on their success.”

Established by the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee, the annual Environmental Achievement Awards acknowledge the hard work and achievements of ACI-NA members by promoting awareness more broadly within the airport community, the general public and regulators of the many notable and innovative efforts being undertaken by environmental professionals at airports.

ACI-NA annually awards up to five awards recognizing outstanding achievement in the categories of Environmental Management, Mitigation, Outreach, Education and Community Involvement, Innovative/Special Projects, and new this year, Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership. Many promising submissions were received this year, and the strong field created a challenging selection process for this year’s panel of judges.

Winners in each category were selected by a four-judge panel and based on the project’s environmental benefits, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability, and cost-effectiveness.  Judges for the 2014 awards were Sean Broderick, Managing Editor, Aviation Week; Marianne Csaky, Director of Environmental Affairs, Airlines for America; Jonathan Farley, Manager of Environmental Protection, Transport Canada; and Peggy Wade, Environmental Specialist, Federal Aviation Administration.

Award winners will be recognized at the 2014 ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sept. 10, 2014, during the Chairman’s Honors Breakfast.

Environmental Management Award Category: San Diego International Airport’s “The Green Build” Expansion Project

San Diego International Airport’s “The Green Build” Expansion project opened on Aug. 13, 2013, as the largest improvement project in the airport’s 86-year history.  It includes a 460,000 square-foot terminal expansion and 10 new gates, a new security checkpoint, more shopping and dining options, and expanded passenger waiting areas equipped with new seating featuring electrical charging outlets, as well as a concessions core with floor-to ceiling views of the airfield. “The Green Build” seeks to meet the airport’s current and future demand for travel and was designed with environmental sustainability at its core. In May 2014, the terminal became the world’s first and only commercial airport terminal to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification. The “land side” of the project, including a dual level roadway and USO building, earned the LEED gold certification.

Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award Category: Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s Deicing 101: Educating West Michigan Program

In December 2010, Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA), located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the discharge of storm water impacted by aircraft and pavement deicing materials. As a result of historical biofilm development in the receiving stream, the permit had strict requirements and deadlines. GFIA staff and consultants quickly went to work on three main objectives in order to meet their permit requirements: developing a technical solution that could meet the requirement of eliminating the discharge of deicing materials; educating a large cross-section of the West Michigan community on the science, operations, and various responsibilities associated with deicing at airports; and convincing the community that the airport’s plan was the best solution. Community outreach was carried out in stages and intended to improve the general understanding of aircraft and pavement deicing, and how deicing activities are carried out at GFIA.  Taking into account all community stakeholders and the creation of a citizens committee was a creative way to increase communication between the public and airport staff.

Nashville International Airport was the runner-up for the Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award for their Nashville Recycles Day at BNA Project.

Special/Innovative Projects Award Category: Port Columbus International Airport’s Runway 10R-28L Replacement Program

In 2009, Columbus Regional Airport Authority began implementation of an airfield development program to relocate existing Runway 10R-28L 702 feet south of its current location. The new runway enables the airport to handle an increasing number of flights and passengers, and provides the required separation distance for the long-term plan that will include a new terminal. The $140-million project was completed in the fall of 2013 and won this award due to innovative, sustainable solutions implemented through its process of design and construction. Managing construction waste, improving water quality and storm water management collection, reducing construction emissions, reducing pavement life-cycle costs, and providing energy savings through the use of LED lighting and a variety of solar items are just a few examples of the measures taken to ensure that the project was both cost efficient and able to implement sustainable solutions. Runway 10R-28L is the first high-intensity, all-LED lit runway in operation in the United States.

The runner-up in this category went to Los Angeles World Airports’ Air Quality and Source Apportionment Study.

Mitigation Award Category: San Francisco International Airport’s West-of-Bayshore San Francisco Garter Snake Recovery Action Plan.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) owns and manages an approximately 180-acre undeveloped area of land, west of the primary airport facility, known as the West-of-Bayshore (WOB) property, which supports populations of two federally protected species, the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. The WOB property is critically important to airport operations, as extensive airport-related infrastructure is located on or passes through the WOB property. This infrastructure, and in particular SFO’s flood control and conveyance canals, require varying degrees of maintenance and management by SFO to ensure reliability and function. In 2008, a comprehensive threatened and endangered species management plan for the WOB property was developed in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Recovery Branch, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the San Mateo County Flood Control District. The Recovery Action Plan, now in its sixth year, is intended to ensure larger populations of the two endangered species through a variety of habitat enhancement actions, and concurrently allows SFO to improve its flood control, storage, and conveyance infrastructure on the WOB property.

Los Angeles World Airports was named runner-up in the Mitigation category for the LAX Dunes Endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly Recovery and Habitat Restoration project.

Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership: Mary L. Vigilante, Synergy Consultants, Inc.

For the first time this year, the ACI-NA Environmental Committee launched a new category to recognize an individual for outstanding contributions to the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee. The winner of the first-ever Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership Award is Mary L. Vigilante, President of Synergy Consultants, Inc. Vigilante previously served as co-chair of the Committee’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Working Group, in which she aided airports and associate members to understand how to improve their NEPA efforts. She has been involved with ACI-NA for more than twenty years and has contributed a wealth of experience to the committee.


About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. Collectively, U.S. airports support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at