The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority kicked off a celebration of 30 years as an organization at its board of directors meeting Wednesday, recognizing the contributions of more than 50 employees who have served the entire three decades.
Many of them attended Wednesday’s board meeting to receive special recognition from President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Potter. “I want to thank and congratulate these men and women for their amazing level of dedication and service, and for their countless contributions and achievements through the years,” said Potter. “The results of their dedication, their talents, their spirit of teamwork and their spirit of service are reflected in our airport facilities and in the level of service that our customers receive every day.”
A few of the longest-serving employees made remarks reflecting on their years of service. Debt Program Manager Valerie O’Hara noted that on her watch, the Airports issued more than $17 billion in airport bonds and $2.7 billion in Dulles Toll Road bonds to fund capital projects and reduce debt service costs. Dulles Deputy Fire Chief Dominic DePaolis talked about the substantial growth he witnessed at Dulles since the 1980s. Reagan National Locksmith Alvin Owens thanked the board for its selection of leaders appointed through the Airports Authority’s history.
Potter also acknowledged the visionary actions taken more than 30 years ago by people like former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole and former President and CEO Jim Wilding to transfer the ownership and operation of National and Dulles airports from federal control. Following approval by the U.S. Congress, the Airports Authority was formed under a compact in 1987 between the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Authority’s board includes representation from both jurisdictions, Maryland and the federal government.
Since 1987, the Airports Authority completed major capital improvement projects at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport that expanded airline operational capacity and improved customer service. At Reagan National, Terminal B/C and new parking garages replaced aging terminals and surface parking lots. At Dulles International, new parking garages, a wider Main Terminal, new airline gates, a taller airport traffic control tower, an automated train system and a fourth runway paved the way for passenger growth. The successes of those projects were followed by agreements for the Authority to operate and maintain the Dulles Toll Road and manage construction of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.
At the board meeting, Potter also announced he will accept the Williams Trophy on behalf of all Airports Authority employees from the Washington Airports Task Force at its annual general meeting. The award is being presented to the Authority as a body for its facility improvements, progress on making Dulles International Airport more competitive, improving Reagan National Airport and for strengthening the Airports Authority’s reputation.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road and also manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system through Fairfax County and into Loudoun County, Virginia. More than 45 million passengers a year pass through the two airports. The Airports Authority generates more than 387,000 jobs in the National Capital Region.