Over the last several years, there has been a lot of deserved attention and focus on how the airport industry is advancing key issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. After a high-level discussion at the 2022 CEO Forum, ACI-NA acknowledged the complexities of these issues and how, as the Voice of Airports®, we needed to take action to help support the industry.
DEI stretches across virtually every aspect of the airport industry. It involves hiring protocols, future workforce, community equity issues, contracting practices, environmental justice, community relations, and legal reviews, among others. For that reason, the leadership at ACI-NA responded to this request. Not surprisingly, the breadth of what DEI involves does not fall neatly into any one individual Standing Committee. It crosses multiple committees, including Business Diversity, Commercial Management, Environmental Affairs, Human Resources, Legal Affairs, Marketing, Communications & Customer Experience, Operations, Planning, Safety, Infrastructure, and Development. Thus, ACI-NA created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group.
In June 2022, ACI-NA introduced the 27-member Working Group (see Membership of the DEI Working Group), representing Large, Medium, Small, and Non-Hub airports across North America. Danette Bewley, President and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority, serves as the liaison to the ACINA Board of Directors. Solomon Wong, President and CEO of InterVISTAS Consulting, serves as the World Business Partner/Associates representative on the Working Group. Annie Russo, Chief Political and Congressional Strategy Officer at ACI-NA, is the senior management liaison for ACI-NA.
Tanisha Lewis, from the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, was named the Chair, and Debi Marshall, from the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, was named the Vice Chair.
The members brought expertise in human resources, supplier diversity, communications, environmental management, external affairs, training and development, legal matters, finance and budgeting, and community investment. For the past year they delved into DEI policies and DEI programs at airports and other industries. Then they coupled those findings with research on achievements and current commitments by airports.
The DEI Working Group’s efforts resulted in the “ACI-NA DEI Working Group Report: Resource Materials and Good Practices for Developing DEI Programs at Airports.” It is designed to assist airports who are looking for help with DEI Programs. There are examples of lessons learned and practices that are being taken by airports and our business partners that are called out throughout the Report. These are presented as useful case studies to illustrate various initiatives that can help advance DEI, but this is not exhaustive, and many more examples exist.