ACI-NA Announces Winners of the 2019 Inclusion Champion Awards

June 13, 2019

SCOTTSDALE − Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) last night announced the recipients of the 2019 ACI-NA Inclusion Champion Awards during an awards gala dinner at the ACI-NA Business of Airports Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. The ACI-NA Business of Airports Conference brings together more than 600 commercial management, human resource, and finance executives from the North American airport industry. This year’s Inclusion Champion Award recipients are Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Columbus Regional Airport Authority, Birmingham Airport Authority and Stellar Partners.

“Airports are important economic drivers in their communities and this year’s Inclusion Champion Award recipients have further strengthened their businesses by supporting workforce diversity, outreach and advocacy,” said Kevin M. Burke, ACI-NA President and CEO. “I applaud the recipients for their important work and look forward to continuing our shared efforts to promote an inclusive and diverse workplace.”

Large Hub Inclusion Champion: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has taken significant steps to maximize hiring opportunities for a diverse workforce. This includes a hiring process with a panel of interviewers who represent diverse perspectives and backgrounds. The airport partners with minority community organizations to advertise openings to a diverse audience. The airport is also a founding member of North Texas LEAD, an organization whose mission is to make North Texas a choice location for diverse talent. It also supports six active Employee Resource Groups which empower employees to connect with their peers around shared interest and common backgrounds.

Further, the airport continues to reach its annual goals in working with disadvantaged, small, minority and women-owned businesses (D/S/M/WBE). Each year since 2012, the airport has awarded more than 30 percent of its business contracts to D/S/M/WBE firms. The airport also works to expand the economic success of  D/S/M/WBE enterprises through collaborations with business and community partners. Business diversity programs are a critical component of the airport’s operational goals and community engagement because of their importance to the overall success of DFW and the vitality of the local community.

Medium Hub Inclusion Champion: Columbus Regional Airport Authority

The mantra of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) is “Thinking Beyond Compliance: Deriving Value through Diversity & Inclusion”. This is their guiding principle in executing the goals they have outlined in their 5-year strategic plan. They remain focused on creating and implementing strategic methods of driving change and culture, accurate data collection and reporting. CRAA has implemented the B2Gnow system and created departmental reporting in efforts to maximize data collection and reporting. These efforts help drive sustainable cultural change by affording departments a transparent view into their diversity spend against the operating and capital budgets.  As a result, their operating diversity spend increased by 19% from 2017 to 2018.

CRAA is also focused on workforce diversity, tracking and reporting demographics to their Board and key community leaders. Tracking this data closely has led to expanded recruitment efforts that include job fairs and recruitment platforms. Through these efforts they have increased the number of women and minorities in upper management and various roles across the organization. CRAA has also worked to grow their community involvement by participating in community events like career- days in local schools.

Small Hub Inclusion Champion: Birmingham Airport Authority

The Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) constantly strives to maintain a high-level of diversity. In order to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, the BAA continues to focus on recruitment strategies that reach candidates regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic background. As candidate behavior evolves, the BAA adapts to new recruitment tools to increase the range of candidates reached. They utilize traditional recruiting methods such as print media and local career centers to engage veterans. Their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages allow them to act quickly when tapping into diverse talent pools. At the senior level, their recruitment strategy is to encourage professionals from all backgrounds, as well as considering professionals from overseas, for high-level positions and those with a background in other industries who possess transferable skills.

The airport’s outreach and community engagement efforts have also been successful in promoting diversity and inclusion for small businesses throughout Birmingham and the entire state. This includes working with organizations such as the Minority Business Council of West Alabama and Tuskegee University. Recently, the airport worked with the Lakeshore Foundation, a local rehabilitation hospital serving people with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions, to ensure their Airport Station Managers were aware of upcoming events and could seamlessly accommodate travelers with disabilities.

Associate Inclusion Champion: Stellar Partners

Originally founded as a woman-owned Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE), Stellar has always been committed to fostering the small business community. The company actively seeks small business partners in every aspect of our business, whether in the design and development of company marketing materials to producing in-store signage. Rather than subleasing, they believe in developing advantageous joint venture partnerships with certified ACDBEs and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. In doing so, they have the opportunity to mentor these partners, educating them in travel retail and helping them achieve success in the airport concessions industry.


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