AMAC Legends & Leapers: September 2023

AMAC Legends & Leapers is a virtual conversation series featuring an aviation industry legend and leaper.


Carlos Bernal
CEO, Areas USA

Raised by a single mom, Carlos emigrated from Cuba at the age of three and believes that diversity and inclusivity enrich a company and are critical to its success. His successful track record of developing high-performance teams has led multiple businesses across a broad range of private and publicly held companies- including shopping centers, sports venues, and street-side restaurants.

Carlos has held senior leadership positions at Delaware North, Westfield and HMSHost. Throughout his career, he has been passionate about building solid foundations for growth, not just for the companies he leads, but for members of his teams. He establishes the footing for steady and increasing profitability and also the basis for team members to move toward their greatest potential. Many of the people he has mentored are today corporate CEOs or owners of their own companies.

Carlos is currently the CEO of Areas USA. Considered a visionary and strategic thinker, he joined the company in January 2020 and brings over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, many of them in airport businesses. He is best known for managing high-growth companies, repositioning corporate brands and advancing on-the-ground operations. At Areas, he cultivates leadership that values people first and instills ethnic and cultural diversity as a priority.

Under Carlos’ leadership, Areas is involved with and financially committed to the airport industry through organizations such as ACI, AMAC, AXN and Moodie Davitt. With major sponsorships and memberships at each of these entities, the company is a vital part of the collaborative effort to advance the goals of the airport industry. Carlos also serves on the Airport Restaurant and Retail Association (ARRA) board.

Carlos has also directed Areas’ investments in non-profit organizations such as the National Restaurant Association, and its educational foundation; the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and its educational foundation; Homeboy Industries, which redirects lives of the formerly gang-involved, as well as apprenticeship programs to prepare people with special needs and those transitioning out of the military for hospitality jobs. Areas also regularly support the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, World Central Kitchen, United Service Organizations (USO), and the American Red Cross.

The Areas Cares program is also important to him, which he spearheaded to encapsulate the company’s spirit of supporting the communities it serves, advancing people and nourishing the planet.


Joya Kizer
President & CEO, CASA Unlimited Enterprises, Inc.

Joya Kizer has devoted her career to airport logistics, becoming a rare expert in this niche and contributing extensively to major airport ecosystems’ operations, retail, management, and longevity. As the Chief Executive Officer and President of CASA UnlimitedEnterprises, Inc., Joya leverages her airport expertise in her locally-owned business to serve and create memorable experiences for thousands of travelers each day.

Under Joya’s leadership, CASA has been able to expand its footprint in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with retail, service, and beverage locations. Her ability to forge joint venture partnerships and new alliances with major brands has allowed her to build CASA’s portfolio while still maintaining the high levels of customer service and satisfaction that are synonymous with the CASA name.

CASA currently operates 3 stores in Terminal 4: LuckyBreak, Casa Airport and newsstand. Joint venture partners include Stellar, Marshall, InMotionEntertainment and XpresSpa, with locations in Terminal 4PHX as well as MIA, DFW and LAX. Joya is heavily involved in the management, operations and merchandising of each concept, leading her team to deliver service, knowledge, and care to everyone who passes through the airport.

Joya has been the recipient of several awards for her leadership, including the Arizona State University Sun Devil100 Award for Exemplary Leadership, an AirportExperience News Nominee, 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40(Univision and Valle del Sol) and the ASU Spirit ofEnterprise Nomination, W. Carey Business School.



Lauryn Mangum Reed
Secretary, AMAC Board of Directors
Chair, AMAC Emerging Leaders Committee
Executive Vice President, TMG Hospitality USA

Lauryn Mangum Reed’s industry experience started in 2012 when her family opened a café in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (The Refuge Coffee Food and Wine) as a subtenant of HMSHost. She played an integral role in the framework, opening, operations and staff training and became the Director of Sales and Marketing.

In 2017, Mangum Reed joined Stellar Partners as Business Development Coordinator and was later named Director of Innovation and Business Development. Lauryn supported the department in many facets, from coordinating RFPs to working closely with ACDBE partners, with a strong emphasis on innovation, technology and strategy.

Lauryn recently transitioned from retail concessions to the Vice President of Business Development for the global, omnichannel enterprise, self-service hospitality Servy (Grab) platform. Through the contactless order and pay solutions suite, Servy enables partners to drive operational efficiencies and enhance the guest experience while improving profitability. Lauryn is responsible for business development and strategic partnership activities for the Servy (Grab) Airport Marketplace with airport authorities, developers and restaurant and retail partners throughout the Americas.

Although considered an emerging leader, Lauryn’s industry involvement is vast. Mangum Reed serves as the Co-Chair for AMAC’s Emerging Leaders Committee, Secretary of the AMAC Board of Directors and Member of the ACI-NA Business Diversity Steering Committee.

Lauryn has an affinity for people, representation and diversity in her day-to-day life, the aviation industry is no exception. Lauryn graduated from Arizona State University and became a proud Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. member. As a new mom and wife, Lauryn strongly advocates for work/life balance and empowering women to do everything they desire!



Ricky D. Smith
Chair, AMAC Board of Directors
CEO, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

RICKY DORELL SMITH was appointed Executive Director/CEO of the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) on July 10, 2015. Mr. Smith is responsible for the management and operations of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall), Martin State Airport, and regional aviation activities throughout the State of Maryland.

photo of Maryland Aviation Administration Executive Director Ricky Smith
Mr. Smith, a 32-year transportation professional, returned to Maryland after serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Airport System, which includes Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport. In addition, he was responsible for overseeing the development and management of the City’s lakefront properties.

Since returning to BWI Marshall, Mr. Smith has led the airport to five (5) consecutive record-setting years for passengers, including restoring BWI Marshall as the busiest airport in the Washington/Baltimore region and the Best Airport in North America for Customer Service, according to Airport Council International. Establishing a culture of performance, customer service, safety, and innovation, the airports have received several other national and regional awards for customer service, capital development, and marketing, including Emmy Awards in 2018 and 2019. In 2017, the LaunchPad program was started to enable minority-owned micro-businesses the opportunity to participate in BWI Marshall’s thriving food and retail program without barriers to entry. In 2015, he launched the BWI Marshall Youth Initiative to introduce Baltimore City youth to aviation and transportation careers. To date, over 100 youths have participated in this program.

Before his service in Cleveland, Mr. Smith served as the Chief Operating Officer for the MAA, where he helped lead BWI Marshall Airport through a $2 billion expansion program, increased air service throughout the world, and the creation of a new food and retail program. Before returning to the MAA, after a two-year departure, Ricky served as the Deputy Administrator for the Maryland State Highway Administration. In addition, he served in the private sector for several years with International Business Machines, H&R Block Business Services, The May Company, and others.

Ricky holds an Accounting degree from Howard University and an Executive MBA from Loyola University in Maryland. He graduated from several leadership programs, including the Greater Baltimore Committee and Leadership Cleveland. He is active on several national and local boards and industry associations, including the Airport Minority Advisory Council, where he serves as Board Chair, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Washington Board of Trade, the BWI Business Partnership, the World Trade Center Institute, Greater Baltimore Urban League where he serves as Board Chair, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture where he serves as Vice Board Chair, and the Morgan State University School of Communications Board of Advisors.

He has been recognized as the ‘Best State Executive for Minority Business Enterprise’ by the Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association (2022), ‘Leon C. Watkins Guardian Award’ recipient by Airports Council International/North America (2020), ‘Man of the Year’ by Women Transportation Seminar (2019), ‘Leadership in Excellence’ by Leadership Anne Arundel (2019), ‘Power 10 CEO’ by the Baltimore Business Journal (2018), ‘People Who Move America’ by the Boys Scouts of America (2018), ‘Thomas G. Newsome Founder’s Leadership Award’ by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (2018), ‘Influential Marylander’ by The Daily Record (2017), the Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association ‘Black History Hero’ award (2017), ‘Most Influential CEO in Northeast Ohio’ by Crain’s Magazine (2014, 2013), ‘National Executive of the Year’ by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (2010), and ‘Congressional Achievement Award’ from Congressman Elijah Cummings (2006).

The event is finished.


Sep 27 2023


Eastern Time
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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