Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez has been named the 2021 Airports Council International – North America Excellence in Visionary Leadership Award recipient. It is the highest honor given by the organization to an active airport chief executive officer or director.

The award recognizes the extraordinary leadership of an airport chief executive officer or director who best exemplifies the nine core competencies: people practice expertise, relationship management, consultation, leadership and navigation, communication, global and cultural effectiveness, ethical practice, critical evaluation, and business acumen.

“The Indianapolis Airport Authority is fortunate to have the career depth, expertise and influence that Mario brings to our airport,” said IAA Board President Barbara Glass. “Under Mario’s leadership, the Indianapolis International Airport has become a shining example for airports throughout the United States. His leadership knowledge and style has built a stellar team managing an operation that is underpinned by a culture of genuine equity, diversity, and inclusion – crucial components to build a successful organization.”

Under Rodriguez’s leadership, the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) has been named the Best Airport in North America by the ACI-NA for nine years running, and 10 years overall. In addition, under Rodriguez’s tenure, the Indy airport has consistently been ranked among the best in its class several years running by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and J.D. Power.

Most recently Rodriguez’s national leadership diligence and influence landed the Indy airport more than $66 million in grant funding from the U.S. DOT, the largest federal grant in the nation, for critical airfield infrastructure.

Rodriguez was reappointed by President Joe Biden and appointed by both former Presidents Barrack Obama and Donald J. Trump to serve on the U.S. DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee, and he was selected to serve on the Biden-Harris Presidential transition team and provide counsel on aviation industry matters. Rodriguez currently serves on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft System Beyond Visual Line-of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee, and on the ACI-NA’s U.S. Policy Council.

Locally, Rodriguez currently serves on boards, committees and various special initiatives for organizations such as the Board for the Indiana Destination Development Corporation Foundation, Indiana Sports Corp, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, The Economic Club of Indiana, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Board, 500 Festival Board, Ivy Tech Campus Board, Indy Chamber Board, Visit Indy Board, Tourism Tomorrow Committee, and the TeenWorks Board of Directors.

Rodriguez’s leadership over the IAA has landed the Indy airport accolades and honors for diversity and inclusion from the City of Indianapolis, including the Mayor’s Diversity in Leadership Award and the Mayor’s Accessibility Award.

“ACI-NA recognizes the profound leadership Mario Rodriguez has exhibited throughout his decades-long career in the aviation industry,” said ACI-NA President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin M. Burke. “Under Mario’s leadership, the Indianapolis International Airport has grown as one of the world’s leading airports for delivering a positive customer experience. He understands the importance of a thriving airport to a local community and the passengers and customers it serves.”


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