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.
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 a 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 aimed at introducing youth in Baltimore City to careers in aviation and transportation. To date, over 100 youths have participated in this program.
Prior to 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. Prior to 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 is a graduate of 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, American Association of Airport Executives, the Washington Board of Trade, the BWI Business Partnership, 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).
Click here to see other members of our leadership team.