Scottsdale • Atlanta • Houston

Meet the black CEO managing the world's busiest airport

If 2020 is the year of seeing clearly, Kofi Smith’s vision for the Atlanta Airlines Terminal Company, which operates Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is brighter than ever. After nearly a decade with the AATC,  Smith as president and CEO has delivered notable results when it comes to employment, client and employee satisfaction, technology, energy savings and more.

Smith joined the company at age 35, the youngest person to accept this role, and has since grown the AATC by 118 percent, enhancing local employment efforts, while it has consistently been recognized as one of the city’s Top 20 “Best Places to Work” for medium-sized companies by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. That same publication also recognized Smith with its 2018 Most Admired CEO Award.

With a focus on sustainability, the AATC has created the most significant energy savings – a whopping $9.4 million – for the 7.2 million square-foot facility in just three years, far exceeding previous company efforts. In addition, the Atlanta Airlines Terminal Company was the largest recipient of Georgia Power energy efficiency rebates for fiscal 2018, at about $971,500.

“Even as we enjoy turning our vision for an energy-efficient, well-run organization into reality, our focus for 2020 is on continuing these efforts while also expanding our use of technology to improve operations even more,” Smith said. “We are proud to be the first airport and facility in the world to have fully smart restrooms, further enhancing the comfort and cleanliness of our operations.”

Smith, who also earned a Trailblazer Award from the Atlanta Business League and the 100 Black Men of North Metro’s Image Award, has executed $650 million worth of capital projects for the AATC with minority-owned companies. His participation on the Airport Cooperation Research Program of the Transportation Research Board and National Academy’s research panel has helped further local and international travel projects.

“While it is always wonderful to note past successes, a new year is a perfect time to focus in on goals for the future, and ours is to consistently make the world’s busiest airport the best place to work at and travel through,” Smith added.

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport accounts for $64 billion total economic impact, with over 100 million annual passengers and about 450,000 employees. Over seven concourses, the airport hosts about 2,700 daily flights.

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