LAWA names Lindsey new executive director

By Andrew Tellijohn
Gina Marie Lindsey is the new executive director of the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

The Los Angeles City Council last week voted unanimously to confirm the appointment recommended by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who announced Lindsey as the airport’s choice on May 10.

Lindsey will oversee LAWA’s four airports. She faces the challenge of modernizing and upgrading the largest, Los Angeles International (LAX), which has become aged and cramped with outdated terminals and a lack of parking spaces for airplanes.

“In searching for a new executive director we knew we needed someone with experience, with the ability to build bridges and with a vision for moving the area’s airports forward,” says Villaraigosa, in a statement. “We have found the perfect candidate in Gina Marie Lindsey.”

She was chosen, according to the Los Angeles Times, after a nationwide search found more than 70 candidates for the job. The applicant list was narrowed to six, each of whom was interviewed by two search panels. Three finalists were sent to the mayor.

Lindsey told the Times earlier in the month that she planned to meet with community groups to discuss how they would modernize LAX. Many of those groups oppose expansion.

She also hopes to meet with carriers in hopes that talks can end lawsuits that are challenging the airport commission’s decision from earlier this year to increase terminal fees, according to the paper.

A spokesman at LAWA says Lindsey will not be available for interviews until she starts her job later this month. Prior to being named LAWA’s executive director, Lindsey had joined McBee Strategic Consulting LLC’s lobbying and consulting practice in Washington, D.C.

Before that, she worked at Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) where she renegotiated all the business contracts and delivered a $3 billion capital program that renovated and expanded capacity at the airport, according to a biography found at the McBee Web site. She also served as director of aviation at Ted Stevens Anchorage International (ANC) where she managed the airport’s transition from an international passenger refueling stop to an international cargo hub for Federal Express and United Parcel Service.

She became one of the first women to head an airport when she became director of the Alaska International Airport System in 1989.

The appointment drew praise from the head of one of the industry’s largest national trade groups. “She’s certainly seen in the industry as someone that is both a thinker and a doer – a rare combination,” said Greg Principato, president of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), to the Times.

Lindsey chaired ACI-NA in 2003, the first woman to hold that position. At LAWA she replaces Lydia H. Kennard who resigned in January. Lindsey is the 12th executive director in the airport department’s 79-year history.