Nominee for Denver Airport CEO possesses considerable transportation experience

    Phil Washington is set to come under scrutiny from Denver City Council, at the next stage of his candidacy to become the CEO of Denver International Airport in Colorado.
    As reported by local newspaper The Denver Post, Mr Washington’s career accomplishments, including in both transportation and the United States military, stand out; however, it has also been noted that he has no prior experience in the aviation sector.

    Major responsibility for one of the country’s busiest airports

    Denver International Airport, known locally as DIA, is one of the United States’ key aviation hubs, and the largest airport in North America by land area. The role that Mr Washington is bidding to take on is therefore a hugely influential one in the aerospace sector.

    Sure enough, Mr Washington brings to his candidacy a prominent national profile from the wider transportation industry, and far-reaching connections – albeit, not from the aviation sector itself.

    The newspaper observed that recent airport leaders in Miami and Chicago had come from city administrative or legal backgrounds.

    However, both Mr Washington and the man who nominated him, Mayor Michael Hancock, have talked up the relevance of his almost 21-year career in public transportation management in Denver and Los Angeles, including as CEO at the Regional Transportation District (RTD).

    A track record that promises much for DIA

    Most recently, the 63-year-old served for six years as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or LA Metro’s CEO, finishing his stint there this spring. Before that, he was in the Army for over two decades, before moving on to RTD.

    Mr Washington has said that his work experiences have touched on multiple modes of transportation, including public transit and highway improvements, as well as discussions about freight movement and aviation. In 2020, he also led then-President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team for transportation issues.

    He commented: “I interacted with the [Federal Aviation Administration] and airports around the country in evaluating the state of the US Department of Transportation.”
    The nominee has also referred to his track record in launching large construction projects at both RTD and LA Metro. This is potentially highly relevant experience, given DIA’s ongoing $3.5 billion capital program that has been subject to delays, scale-backs and cost overruns.

    He said of the DIA initiatives: “The first thing is we’ve got to move… these projects forward. I think I bring [an outside perspective], along with the ability to engage and understand aviation very quickly.”

    If approved by the full council in its vote on 12th July, Mr Washington would replace Kim Day, who will retire on 16th July after 13 years in charge.

    To learn more about TARCG’s own well-honed and in-depth executive search expertise and how we could assist your organisation with the fulfilment of its growth objectives in the aviation sector, please enquire today to our professional and experienced team.