2022 AMAC Board of Directors Nominees
Ricky D. Smith
Chair, AMAC Board of Directors
CEO, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Ricky Dorell Smith as Executive Director of the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) on July 10, 2015. Mr. Smith is responsible for the planning, operation, and management of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall), Martin State Airport, and regional aviation activities for the State of Maryland.
Mr. Smith, a 29-year transportation official, 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.
Position Seeking to Fill: Chair
What does AMAC mean to you? AMAC enables me to collaborate with like-minded industry professionals to advocate for women and minorities' access to employment and business opportunities. It is the premier organization in the aviation industry serving this purpose.
What is your record of service in AMAC? As a member since the early 90s, I’ve had the honor of serving on the board for several years and currently serve as board chair.
What are your visions for AMAC? My vision for AMAC is to resume its position as the primary voice and resource for issues and opportunities affecting women and minorities in the aviation industry.
What do you hope to achieve? I hope to build on the momentum established over the last two years. This includes expanding engagement, delivering membership services, intensifying advocacy, and strengthening the National office.
At-Large Director, AMAC Board of Directors
Chair, AMAC Communications Committee
Vice President, Partner Relations & Business Diversity, Hudson
Bridget Biagas, Vice President of Partner Relations and Business Diversity at Hudson, is responsible for partner outreach and development, among other activities. Having served in a senior management capacity for a significant rental car provider and, more recently, for one of the largest airport parking management companies in North America, Bridget has significant airport industry experience.
With 20-plus years of experience, Bridget brings a ‘best practice’ approach to business diversity efforts. Bridget is an attorney and is highly respected in the aviation industry, evident by her involvement with several industry trade organizations, including the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC). Bridget is a current AMAC Board member, the Chair of the Communications Committee, the immediate previous Chair of the Nominations & Elections Committee, and is a crucial Committee member of both the Governance and Performance Committee (By-laws) Charter sub-Committees) as well as Government Affairs JV Guidelines sub-committee.
Bridget is a graduate of Dillard University with a degree in Political Science and earned a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Southern University Law Center. She is admitted to the bar in Louisiana and is an active member of her sorority. In her spare time, Bridget serves as a board member of StepUp (Southern Region) and has volunteered at Bishop Dunne Catholic School and with Step Up|Dallas and First Tee of Dallas.
Position Seeking to Fill: 2nd Vice Chair
What does AMAC mean to you? AMAC is my space to advocate freely for minority participation in the industry and work with others passionate about the mission to be inclusive in the aviation and aerospace industry.
What is your record of service in AMAC? In the past, I have served as Catalyst Award Chair, I've assisted AMAC with the Rental Car White Paper, and I've been an AMAC consultant helping AMAC's National Office with AMAC Academy. I've served as an At-Large Board member in more recent years and chaired both the Nominations & Elections Committee and Communications Committee. Additionally, I am a Governance & Performance Management Committee member and sub-committee member for the AMAC By-laws, Charters, and Governmental Affairs (FAA JV Guidance sub-committee). As chair of the Nominations & Elections Committee, I lead the committee in updating the process by which we nominate and elect board members, reflected in the by-laws update last year. This year, I led the Communications Committee to focus on AMAC's mission. As a sub-committee member, I assisted in updating the by-laws, writing and reviewing committee charters and providing feedback to the FAA JV guidance.
What are your visions for AMAC? My vision for AMAC is to grow its membership through engagement, aligned with the mission of AMAC. It would be great for AMAC to be a certifying agency or the central place for all DBELOs to receive "FAA-certified" training for airport staff to implement the JV Guidance.
What do you hope to achieve? I hope to achieve continuity between board leadership by implementing processes and standard operating procedures for board members and committees. For example, if elected, I would implement a strategy whereby the first and second vice chairs met monthly with committee chairs for a status update on committee initiatives.
First Vice Chair, AMAC Board of Directors
Vice Chair, AMAC Finance Committee
Owner, H&H Hospitality
Randy Hazelton is a founding partner of H&H Hospitality. Launched in 2008 with his first restaurant, Randy has led the business development of H&H Hospitality achieving continuous growth in Food & Beverage and expanding the company's business portfolio.
Under Randy’s leadership, H&H Hospitality has consistently achieved year-over-year growth as a multi-unit operator with a portfolio of 18 local, regional, and nationally recognized brands.
Prior to founding H&H Hospitality, Randy worked for Kimberly Clark Corporation as a Regional Business Manager in its Professional B2B division. He also held various positions at General Mills in Product Category Management, Sales, Business Development and Territory Management.
His leadership extends beyond the private sector, where he has served in numerous capacities with local and national organizations centered around civic and economic empowerment.
Position Seeking to Fill: 2nd Vice Chair
What does AMAC mean to you? For me, AMAC is the promise that minorities and women will retain a seat at the table concerning business opportunities and wealth creation within the aviation space. AMAC plays a critical toward bridging the economic divide in general, but specifically within aviation. AMAC is another thruster toward the economic participation of this country's disenfranchised communities.
What is your record of service in AMAC? I have been an active member of AMAC for roughly 10 years and a sitting board member for five years. I have served in various roles at the board level and on several committees.
What are your visions for AMAC? My visions for AMAC are that we continue to ensure women and minorities get their of the economic pie within aviation. Additionally, my vision is to increase AMAC's value proposition to the industry by delivering innovative and valuable services, insights, training, and capabilities to industry stakeholders. Lastly, my vision for AMAC is that it diversifies its sources of revenue to ensure its sustainability over time.
What do you hope to achieve? I hope to help develop and implement a strategic plan that sets the framework for AMAC to achieve exponential growth over the coming years, draw more members to AMAC, increase the pipeline of minorities and women toward wealth generation, and add revenue streams to the organization.
Eastern Regional Director, AMAC Board of Directors
Chair, AMAC Governance and Performance Management Committee
Director, Quality Assurance (DQA), Fraport USA, Inc.
Robin Gibson is Director of Quality Assurance for Fraport USA, Inc., a division of Fraport AG which is one of the world’s largest airport operators with revenues exceeding $3.5 billion. Widely recognized as the creator of modern American airport concession development, Fraport USA hired Ms. Gibson to oversee various aspects of retail and concession operations compliance throughout the United States after her exemplary 15-year career at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
Ms. Gibson holds a BA in human resources management / personnel administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and an MBA with focus in public administration and a government administration concentration from the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University.
A long-time member of AMAC, Ms. Gibson is currently serving as the Eastern Regional Director, Chairperson of the Governance & Performance Management Committee, and was a member of the 2021 and 2004 conference planning committee. In addition to her involvement with AMAC, Ms. Gibson is an active member of the Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) and ACI-NA. For WTS, she has served the Philadelphia Chapter as Chair of the Diversity Committee and Chair of the Special Projects Committee. Ms. Gibson is a former Chair of ACI-NA’s Business Diversity Committee after serving as a member of the Steering Group. She is also a member of the ACI-NA Commercial Management Committee, where she served on the Concessions Task Force and is currently on the Steering Committee.
Position Seeking to Fill: Eastern Regional Director
What does AMAC mean to you? Assistance in advocating for and helping to advance minority and women in career, contracting, and networking opportunities that will improve their quality of life, enhance their well-being, and generate wealth to sustain them, their families, and their community.
What is your record of service in AMAC? I have been a member of AMAC for almost 20 years. I have served on the front lines and behind the scenes in various capacities with the organization. I have been on conference planning committees, organized workshops, served as a panelist for workshops, represented AMAC at events, recruited members, secured resources, and advocated for industry changes with AMAC. I have served on the Board as the Eastern Regional Director as well as chaired the Governance & Performance Management Committee, participated on the Membership Committee, participated and led projects with the Government Affairs Committee, and served on the Car Rental Working Group advocating for increased participation and changes for minority and women in the rental car portion of the ACDBE program in addition to advocating and working with the FAA along with AMAC on Non-Car Rental changes to the ACDBE program.
What are your visions for AMAC? To fulfill its mission and continue to focus on the vision, which is to advance the full participation of minorities and women in employment and contracting opportunities throughout the aviation and aerospace industries and create economic equity, access and wealth for minorities and women in the aviation and aerospace industries.
What do you hope to achieve? To play a part and continue to help AMAC fulfill its mission and focus on the vision, which is to advance the full participation of minorities and women in employment and contracting opportunities throughout the aviation and aerospace industries and create economic equity, access and wealth for minorities and women in the aviation and aerospace industries.
Southeast Regional Director, AMAC Board of Directors
Vice Chair, AMAC Emerging Leaders Committee
Business Development Manager, Concessions International
Mori Russell is an entrepreneur and leads Business Development at Concession International, an airport food and beverage company. Mori is a third-generation leader of her family business, Concessions International, which was started 40+ years ago by her grandfather. She is the owner of Olle Fit, a wellness company focused on mind, body, & spirit. Mori also owns a consulting firm, MCR Services LLC, where she provides development & community outreach work.
Mori graduated in 2015, with her Master of International Business from Florida International University. While in school, she founded and operated her first company, an accessory boutique, O’Amor, in Miami, Florida and online.
Aside from her daily business-oriented goals and operations, she leads Concessions International’s Corporate Social Responsibility Arm, CI Cares, serves as the Southeast Regional Director for The Airport Minority Advisory Council, and serves on the YMCA Metro Atlanta Ambassador Board. Mori shares her late grandfather, Herman Jerome Russell’s, passion for entrepreneurship and supporting causes that are impactful to communities.
Position Seeking to Fill: Southeast Regional Director
What does AMAC mean to you? Everything-the support & future of minorities in the aviation space
What is your record of service in AMAC? Serving for the past four years as Southeast Regional Director and standing up the Emerging Leaders Committee.
What are your visions for AMAC? To be the key resource in aviation for women and minorities.
What do you hope to achieve? To create more engagement & opportunities for the Southeast region.
Southwest Regional Director, AMAC Board of Directors
Chair, AMAC Chapters Development Committee
Director, Infrastructure Controls Terminal Development, Houston Airport System
Ms. Justina Mann is the Director of INF Terminal Development for the Houston Airport System. In her role, Ms. Mann is responsible for the successful definition, procurement, negotiation, execution, and implementation of HAS Domestic Terminal Development Program as well as other major programs undertaken by HAS airlines and partners. She serves as the HAS owner’s representative for Airline Terminal Development Programs, acting as executive liaison between the airline program management teams and HAS. Ms. Mann currently serves as a National Board Member and was elected Treasurer for the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) where she Chairs the Finance Committee and is a long-standing member of the Conference Planning and Evaluation Committee.
Ms. Mann was elected the Southwest Regional Director for the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) where she Chairs the Chapter Development Committee and serves on the Membership Committee. A native of St. Paul, MN, Ms. Mann received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. She earned her Master of Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives, Certified Public Procurement Officer, Certified Professional Contracts Manager, Project Management Professional and Six Sigma Green Belt.
Ms. Mann began her career in aviation at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport as a procurement professional and was afforded the opportunity to join the Houston Airport System as the Chief Procurement Officer. Currently thriving in Infrastructure, Ms. Mann enjoys aligning her project management and procurement experience with current aviation programs and opportunities that impact the passengers, contractors and businesses around airports and transportation.
Position Seeking to Fill: Southwest Regional Director
What does AMAC mean to you? AMAC enables me to connect to like minded aviation professionals, vendors and partners beyond my airport and my role. AMACs unique and impactful vision and mission is critical to the industry, and I appreciate the opportunity to contribute.
What is your record of service in AMAC? As a current Regional Director and Chair of Chapter Development, I have had a unique and once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute to increasing the membership and reach of AMAC through standing up chapters for the organization. I have had the privilege to lead a team that was able to modify the bylaws to allow for chapters and, by the annual conference, identify the inaugural chapters for AMAC. I have also participated on the Membership committee as a Regional Director and worked with the National office on several efforts that included evaluation of membership software. As a member, I have participated in the Business Matchmaking sessions as an airport representative and sponsor. I look forward to continuing to serve if afforded the opportunity. As a current Regional Director, I have attended every Trade Council meeting during my tenure.
What are your visions for AMAC? My vision is to expand the value proposition of AMAC through Chapter Development. I am also passionate about getting engagement from additional industries that have not been represented at AMAC but benefit from and seek to do business with airports.
What do you hope to achieve? As Southwest Regional Director, I would strive to increase membership, establish more programs that engage and support my region, serve as a liaison to my membership base and the AMAC National Office, and continue to support the mission, vision and objectives of AMAC by participating in and contributing to committees and the AMAC Trade Council.
Michael E. Washington, MBA
Western Regional Director, AMAC Board of Directors
Vice Chair, AMAC Chapter Development Committee
President & Co-Owner, Palazzo Concessions
A veteran of the hospitality industry, Michael Washington has over 25-years of experience leading major hotels. He co-founded Palazzo Concessions, a food and beverage and news and gifts concession service firm, in 2009. The company manages joint venture agreements with several national prime concession entities, including The Hudson Group, HMS Host International, Norm Nixon, and Magic Johnson Enterprises. Palazzo Concessions' ownership interest is currently located in Los Angeles International Airport, Hollywood Burbank Airport, and San Francisco International Airport. The portfolio includes Bulgari, Victoria's Secret, Hugo Boss, Tumi, Michael Kors, Starbucks, Coach, Fred Segal, Harley Davidson, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Panda Express. In addition, Palazzo Concessions partner with Servy and AtYourGate to provide passengers at SFO with the ability to order F&B and retail from their phones for pick up or delivery.
While building Palazzo Concessions, Michael served as General Manager of the Le Meridien Hotel San Francisco and General Manager of The Sheraton Gateway Hotel Los Angeles, a full-service 804-room hotel with 50,000 square feet of meeting space, a celebrated Italian Chophouse Restaurant named Paparazzi. In this role, Michael directed the daily activities of over 400 team members responsible for exceptional guest-related services and positive financial results. Under Michael's leadership, the hotel earned the coveted distinction as Trip Advisor's #2 ranked Business Hotel in Los Angeles in 2011 and 2012. Also, in 2011, Corporate Hotels in Meetings Magazine ranked The Sheraton Gateway as one of the Top 50 Hotels for meetings in the United States. In addition, in 2011, Starwood Hotels and Resorts nominated the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles for national recognition in three key categories, including Sales and Marketing Team of the Year, Revenue Management Team of the Year, and the best Food & Beverage Hotel. In 2014, Starwood appointed Michael to Sheraton's General Managers Advisory Council of Twenty, representing 433 Sheraton Hotel General Managers Worldwide.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LA Tourism or LATCB) and Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) as the Western Regional Director. In addition, Michael has a passion for golf and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA Tour) and the Advocates Foundation, developing young men of color to reach the PGA. He also currently serves as the Co-Chair for the West Angeles Family Life Center Construction Project, valued at $22M, and leads their diversity and inclusion efforts. Michael also served on the 2022 Super Bowl Prayer Breakfast Committee. Previously he served on the California Chamber of Commerce "Cal Chamber" Board of Directors and the Gateway to Los Angeles Board of Directors. In addition, former Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake appointed Michael to the role of Convention Co-Commissioners, planning and managing the church's International Convocation with 25,000 attendees.
Recognized throughout his career, honors include the 2013 NCBMP "General Manager's Award," 2012 Trumpet Awards, "Power at the Front Door Award," the 2012 National Sales Network, Los Angeles, "Community Service Award," the Wings of Refuge, Community Advocate of the Year Award. Starwood also recognized Mr. Washington with the coveted Hotel of the Quarter 2004. In 2003, Michael received the Sales and Marketing Team of the Year Award for the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. In 2001, Michael also received special recognition from Starwood for his leadership at the Westin Long Beach Hotel.
Michael is a graduate of Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, earning the prestigious President and Key Executive, Master of Business Administration degree. He also graduated from Columbus State Community College and attended The Ohio State University. He enjoys cycling, golf, and traveling with his best friend and wife, Stasia; together, they founded the Annual Save Africa's Children Golf Tournament, which raised over $400k of much-needed support for more than 400 orphanages in Africa. Michael and Stasia have three adult children.
Position Seeking to Fill: Western Regional Director
What does AMAC mean to you? Our incredible organization is truly a fantastic family of talented entrepreneurs, airport officials, and corporate executives who want to ensure the success of minorities and women in the Airport Ecosystem. As a previous General Manager of major hotel brands, being a member of AMAC has assisted my transition as an entrepreneur. In addition, AMAC has catapulted my growth, business, and career as a small business owner and a joint venture concessionaire. As Western Regional Director, I am fortunate and honored to be a member of AMAC's leadership team to continue to assist others in achieving their goals and providing resources for our membership base. Therefore, AMAC means to me being involved, visible, and heard so I can continue making a difference for our members and the phenomenal AMAC Community.
What is your record of service in AMAC? I have been a member of AMAC for more than ten years and have served in several roles, primarily in the background, to assist the growth and further the mission of AMAC. So, when the Western Regional Director position suddenly became available in March of 2021, the AMAC Leadership Team approached me to fill the position due to my continual committee involvement, support and commitment.
See the list below of my level of involvement:
• Western Regional Director, March 2021 until current
• Chair of the 2022 Catalyst Awards, current
• Committee Member of the 2019 Catalyst Awards
• Los Angeles Welcome Reception Committee Member 2019
• Chapter Development Committee, Vice-Chair, current
• AMAC University Committee, Interim Vice-Chair, current
• AMAC's Western Region Committee Member, San Francisco and Oakland Airports 2019
• AMAC's Membership Committee Member, current
• AMAC's Governance and Performance Management Committee Member, current
What are your visions for AMAC? My vision for AMAC is to complete the monumental task of assisting in leading the Local Chapter Initiative as Vice-Chair. This critical initiative aims to coordinate with the National Office to develop and execute a plan of action for introducing and expanding local chapters of AMAC. This committee, led by Justina Mann, will assist in the following areas:
• Grow and expand the membership base and revenue
• Expand Local Partners and sponsorship opportunities
• Increase engagement of women and minorities in the Airport Ecosystem
• Improve the understanding of local needs/interests
• Strengthen organizational brand identity and visibility
• Enhance and expand the AMAC Value Proposition
What do you hope to achieve? I want to continue serving in this leadership role by advocating and advancing legislation, particularly ensuring congress preserves the DBE and ACDBE programs and supports Passenger Facility charges (PFC), to include Minorities, Women, and DBE participation. Complete the Local Chapter Initiative and continue to educate minorities and women about the economic opportunities in the airport ecosystem, creating economic equity, access, and generational wealth.
National Aviation Services Group Leader, Mead & Hunt, Inc.
Jon Faucher is Mead & Hunt’s National Aviation Services Group Leader. Mead & Hunt’s and ACC Foundation’s Board of Directors, AMAC Membership Committee, and former AAAE Board member when he served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Corporate Committee. Jon lives with his wife and three children in Chandler, AZ.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? An organization that is focused on developing professionals to enter or grow in the field of aviation by educating people and organizations on the value of diversity and inclusion.
What is your record of service in AMAC? Current member on the membership committee. Will be contributing to scholarship program. Investigating AMAC Corporate Partner program.
What are your visions for AMAC? Continuous growth and improvement in making a difference in the aviation field.
What do you hope to achieve? To bring in more engineering, architecture, and construction associated members into the organization.
Director, Business Development, AREAS
Maria Martinez is a business development professional and franchising expert with over 15 years of experience in sales and business growth. Maria currently serves as Director of Business Development for prime concessionaire Areas USA. Maria has also represented global brands such as UPS, Jack in the Box, Qdoba and most recently IHOP and Applebee’s. As a driven, goal oriented and self-motivated individual, she finds joy in growing businesses with valuable business propositions in concessions through the brands she represents. Prior to working in business development, Maria held positions in Finance and Accounting.
Maria was initially introduced to AMAC and airport concessions in 2016. Since then, she has embraced and worked passionately to support AMAC’S mission. Most recently Maria served as Secretary of AMAC’s Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 term and Chair of AMAC Governance & Ethics Committee for the 2018-2020 term, as well as the AMAC National Conference Committee in 2019. She currently serves as a volunteer member of the Governance and Performance Management Committee.
Maria is fluent in English and Spanish and holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from CETYS Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. She has also completed a Finance Certificate at UCSD. Maria immigrated from Mexico to San Diego, CA where she currently lives. She likes to listen to audiobooks in subjects of finance, personal development and business. She also enjoys travelling the world and spend time with friends and family.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? AMAC is a platform that allows minorities and women to advance their careers, businesses, knowledge, perspective and desires to grow in the aviation industry. AMAC is an exceptional organization to me; its mission and vision inspire me to join the efforts to advocate for those that are underrepresented and seeking opportunities in the aviation industry. AMAC gives me the chance to fight for what is right, allowing me to represent the Latino community and women with dignity in a professional and dignified way, breaking stereotypes associated with race and gender, and demonstrating that anyone can be what they desire if they desire are presented with opportunities. I’m running for an AMAC At-Large board seat to continue to join the effort and have a louder voice in providing opportunities for everyone.
What is your record of service in AMAC? Maria has been a member of AMAC since 2016. Most recently, Maria served as Secretary of AMAC’s Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 term and Chair of AMAC Governance & Ethics Committee for the 2018-2020 term and the AMAC National Conference Committee in 2019. She currently serves as a volunteer member of the Governance and Performance Management Committee.
What are your visions for AMAC? My vision for AMAC is to enable significant change in the aviation industry that allows for minorities and women to have a leveled plain field when seeking advancement professionally and in business. I envision AMAC growing its membership by diversifying its membership base, attracting members of all minority groups, and having members from services relevant to the aviation industry currently underrepresented at AMAC. I envision AMAC to become the go-to organization for recruitment and advocacy of and for minorities in the aviation industry. I anticipate AMAC to be an engaged organization with its members through transparency and allowing them to work on matters relevant to the members and AMAC actively. I envision AMAC to be the leading force that channels the power of minorities and women through legislative action that affects equal opportunities for minority women in the industry. I envision AMAC to further relationships with other organizations that align with the mission of AMAC and create a louder voice for minorities and women in aviation.
What do you hope to achieve? As an At-Large director, I’m looking to contribute to the benefit of AMAC through the assistance in fundraising efforts and promoting member programs and participation from the membership. I will be assisting in the growth of the membership and promoting AMAC through events and overall outreach efforts. I will contribute to the diversity of the AMAC membership by representing and attracting more underrepresented minorities to the membership.
President/Principal, Ken Weeden & Associates, Inc.
For 33 years, Ken Weeden has been a nationally recognized expert in all aspects of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE/ACDBE) Program under 49 CFR, parts 26 and 23. He has been working with the USDOT/FTA/FAA/FHWA Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs since 1980, when he started as an Airport Planner with an Engineering firm in Wilmington, NC. He founded Ken Weeden & Associates (KWA) in 1989 and has since led in the preparation of thousands of program documents for projects in 36 states and three (3) U.S. territories. The firm serves as a consultant to several large Concessionaire companies. Mr. Weeden is also the founder and lead trainer of the National DBE Training Institute. (www.natdbe-ti.com), which provides expert hands-on training to numerous compliance professionals around the U.S. KWA maintains offices in Raleigh, NC, Atlanta, GA, and Wilmington, NC. The firm has helped develop DBE/ACDBE program updates for airports of all sizes, including Atlanta's primary airport, Wash. DC; Memphis; Jacksonville; Tampa; Tallahassee; Savannah GA; Charleston SC; Myrtle Beach SC; Greenville-Spartanburg SC; Norfolk VA; and Greensboro NC. He has been an AMAC member since 1987.
Ken has a B. An in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Mississippi (1973), and M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1975). A native of Tunica, MS, he works out of the firm's Raleigh NC office.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? I attended my first AMAC annual conference in Orlando in 1987 while employed with another aviation engineering, architecture, and planning consulting firm. I caught the vision and was hooked. I’ve been committed and dedicated to the principles and purposes of AMAC ever since. Two years later, in 1989, I founded Ken Weeden & Associates, Inc., Planning Consultants. AMAC has been of tremendous value to the growth and expansion of our company for 33 years. Likewise, I’ve served on the Board previously and supported AMAC in other ways. It’s time to do it again.
What is your record of service in AMAC? I first served on the Board in 2005, at least two other times. At various times, as our company funds permitted, we've taken our whole staff to the annual conference to support the organization; we've also been a sponsor at times as well. We have participated in the economic forums and any regional activity in our region since 1989.
What are your visions for AMAC? Over the last 36 years of my total involvement, I've enjoyed seeing the organization thrive, survive, struggle, and survive again. We are very resilient. That's most important in today's political, business, and social climate. We must position and perhaps re-position ourselves. Now is the time. As a seasoned member, I feel the grey-haired among us must share institutional in-grained knowledge with the newer and dynamic generation behind us. I want nothing personal from AMAC...just an opportunity to "pass the baton" to the younger, insightful, and swifter runners behind me. That's all.
What do you hope to achieve? I want to help balance the focus on all three major segments of aviation enterprise opportunities and as many subcomponents as possible in our newly emerging economy. With renewed and historic funding for infrastructure, there WILL be opportunities in Construction, Professional Services (especially in the cyber sector and design professions), and Concessions. We, as the future rises before us, must touch ALL bases. Again, for the generation behind us. I have a strong interest in Government Affairs and Policy to this end.
Pilar Guzman Zavala
CEO, Half Moon Empanada
Pilar Guzman Zavala is the CEO of Half Moon Empanadas, a fast-casual food concept in Miami, offering over 12 flavors of Argentinian-style empanadas. Under Pilar’s leadership, Half Moon Empanadas is embarking on a national expansion to create a new food category in America, the empanada.
Half Moon has been successfully in business for 14 years and over 13 locations, in the following venues: Florida International University, Miami International Airport, the University of Miami, The Miami Beach Convention Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and the main commissary in Miami.
Pilar’s dream is to make Half Moon Empanadas a household name. Today, Half Moon Empanadas is the #1 best seller per sqft. In the Miami International Airport. Under Pilar’s leadership, Half Moon Empanadas was awarded the highest recognition in the Miami International Airport as the “2016 Best Concession of the Year” and “Best Customer Service in 2016, the OYA award”. Half Moon Empanadas has nearly tripled
its revenue, and currently sells over 800,000 empanadas a year.
Before joining Half Moon Empanadas, Guzman-Zavala worked at The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation managing the National Programs grant process. Her responsibilities included the evaluation of grant ideas, the write-up and presentation of grant proposals to the board, and the management of special events.
Her previous work includes: Director of the Office of International Affairs for the state of Veracruz, Mexico; Consultant at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, and Marketing Director at TIYM Publishing Company, publisher of the Anuario Hispano-Hispanic Yearbook.
Pilar graduated from Georgetown University in 2005 with a Master's Degree from the School of Foreign Service, where her studies concentrated in international economic development. She also graduated cum laude from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM, Mexico) in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Pilar’s passion is to empower women and minority-owned entrepreneurs; as a strong local community supporter, Pilar is determined to make a difference in Miami, and in the lives of the next generation of Hispanic entrepreneurs and women. She is a Ricardo Salinas Scholarship recipient for the Aspen Institute, and a Young American Leaders Program fellow from Harvard School of Business. She is a mentor for women and food entrepreneurs in Miami. She has been a mentor to the WIN Lab Miami from Babson College, and the FIU Startup Food Lab. Pilar is a Venture Café and Impac Fund board member, and she has recently been elected board member for the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program
at Georgetown University. She is also a Miami Leadership and a Miami Fellow graduate.
For her commitment to her community, Pilar was awarded the top 25 most influential women in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal.
Most recently, Pilar’s commitment to the small business community and her efforts to help others during COVID with PPP, President Biden highlighted her business in a twitter video that went viral. This conversation led to the President to change the last 2 weeks of PPP to be for companies of less than 20 people. https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1350077778310270978?s=20
Pilar lives with her husband, Juan and is the mother of Diego and Sofia. They live in Miami, FL.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? I believe AMAC is a vital organization in offering support to minorities in an arena that is extremely competitive and hard to navigate. This is a topic that I relate to deeply as I am very involved in my local community by educating and mentoring small businesses, especially those owned by women. Knowledge is the most powerful tool and AMAC's commitment to doing just that resonates with me on a core value.
What is your record of service in AMAC? Although I'm a relatively new member with AMAC, I believe I can bring a breath of fresh air with new opportunities and ideas to support the organization.
What are your visions for AMAC? My vision for AMAC is for it to keep expanding to where it can reach even smaller, minority owned business in all corners of the country.
What do you hope to achieve? My goal is to bring new and creative ideas to support the organization in its pursue to impact, educate, and facilitate opportunities to minorities in the industry. I would love for my focus to be on women, how to best reach them and support them in navigating the airport and aviation world. Policy work is my passion at heart and having the opportunity to assist and be part of the change that directly benefits minorities, especially women, would be a dream come true!
Jorge Roberts is the CEO of Avports (formerly Pan Am World Services), America’s most experienced airport operator and manager. His global airport management and public-private partnership (P3) development and investment career spans over fourteen years. Jorge is currently a proud volunteer for the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), a Board Member (Advisor) of ACI’s Latin American and Caribbean region, a member of the President’s Advisory Board for NY’s Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology and member of A.A.A.E’s National Leadership Committee. He holds an International Airport Professional accreditation from Airports Council International (ACI) and ICAO’s airport management program (AMPAP), two bachelor's degrees in Economics and Business from the University of Washington in Seattle and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? AMAC is a vital organization that provides the collective voice of the underrepresented groups within the airport industry and brings industry practitioners together to share the best practices and mentorship to build the necessary minority equity within the airport industry.
What is your record of service in AMAC? Member of the Membership Committee; Speaker at the Annual Business Diversity Conference; Attendee to regular events (Economic Opportunity Forum, Legends and Leapers)
What are your visions for AMAC? I would like to see it recognized in the airport industry as the voice for underrepresented groups and the leading reference organization for airports and airport industry organizations and professionals looking for guidance on developing their DEI programs.
What do you hope to achieve? Help AMAC go to the next level as an organization by 1) using my industry network and profile to amplify the voice of underrepresented groups and the organization's profile; 2) Using my experience as CEO to help AMAC strengthen its organization and business process areas, e.g., source of funds, collection membership dues; 3) Help AMAC explore developing lines of businesses within DEI that could develop another source of funds beyond membership dues and conferences.
Cristal Torres DeHerrera
Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff, Denver International Airport
As Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff, Cristal Torres DeHerrera serves on the executive management team that supports CEO Phil Washington with all day-to-day management and strategic oversight of Denver International Airport (DEN). Cristal ensures the CEO’s vision is operationalized throughout the airport.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? Coming soon.
What is your record of service in AMAC? Coming soon.
What are your visions for AMAC? Coming soon.
What do you hope to achieve? Coming soon.
At-Large Director, AMAC Board of Directors
Vice President, Jacobs Aviation—Americas
Steve leads Jacobs’ Americas Aviation market, providing strategic advisory consulting and project delivery oversight services to our clients and aviation project teams. Leveraging more than 30 years of experience in airport planning, design, engineering, program management and construction management (PM/CM) and security, he delivers solutions and services to respond to our clients’ challenges. Steve supports international, domestic and military airport projects of all sizes and levels of complexity across the U.S. and the Americas.
Steve’s commitment to and passion for aviation has long driven his involvement in numerous professional organizations focused on the latest technologies, project approaches, best practices and emerging issues. He currently serves on the boards of AMAC, ACC, ACI-NA Associates Board, International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE), and the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society.
An important initiative within Jacobs and the industry is to actively embrace and advance inclusion and diversity efforts. This includes mentoring emerging leaders and supporting a workforce that resembles the diversity of our aviation client base. “Our aviation industry has a gap of 15 years between the ages of 35-50 where we have don’t have as many project leaders as we need for the future. It is incumbent on us to turbo charge the next generation to fill that void through internal promotion and diverse hiring to lead the industry for years to come,” acknowledges Steve.
When asked to become part of board of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), Steve quickly accepted knowing he wanted to make important contributions to highlight the diverse qualities of this national organization and to advance their vision of equity, access and wealth for minorities and women in the aviation and aerospace industries.
Position Seeking to Fill: At-Large Director
What does AMAC mean to you? AMAC means the chance to share, learn, and grow opportunities for diverse and disadvantaged minority companies and individuals in the Aviation industry. Personally, AMAC allows me to learn as much as I try to give and expand our mission. AMAC members go out of there way to help friends and new acquaintances to grow.
What is your record of service in AMAC? Have been able to work with the corporate development committee in 2020/21 in raising much needed funds at the beginning of covid. the past 9 months have been working with the professional development committee on college internships.
What are your visions for AMAC? To help make a dramatic shift in the make-up of our companies, supporting DBE firms, and expanding minority opportunities throughout the aviation industry. To encourage the awareness of Junior and Senior High student as well as college student so the merits of a career in aviation.
What do you hope to achieve? I hope to see new minority students working on their high school and college degrees to enjoy, have the same passion, and sense of aviation pride as I have had the pleasure of serving.
To vote in the 2022 election, you must be an AMAC member in good standing as defined below:
- Airport Member (One of Two Votes)
- Business Member (One Vote)
- Corporate Representative Member (One of Two Votes)
- Individual Member (One Vote)
- Designated Voting Member
Student members do not have voting privileges in general meetings, nominating candidates for office or standing for office.
The AMAC Elections and Nominations Committee is responsible for planning, developing and implementing the election process. This committee prepares a slate of nominees for each of the Board vacancies, which is circulated in writing to all voting AMAC members in good standing no less than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the published election dates. The Elections and Nominations Committee also develops electronic voting procedures and makes all preparations for balloting and the election of Board members. This committee conducts and manages the election process with oversight by the Board. Please review Articles IV, V and VII of the AMAC Bylaws if you are considering running for office or voting for an AMAC member in good standing to run for office.