Ricky D. Smith, Sr.

Executive Director/CEO Maryland Aviation Administration

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About the Speaker

Profession: Executive Director/CEO

Company: Maryland Aviation Administration

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Ricky Dorell Smith as Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT 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, with about 30 years of experience as a transportation official, returned to Maryland after serving as the Director of the Department of Port Control for the City of Cleveland since June 2006.  In that capacity, he served as the 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.


Mr. Smith worked to establish and execute a strategic direction for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport that included expanding airport revenue sources, strengthening the airport’s brand recognition, improving airfield safety, and enhancing the passenger experience.  During Mr. Smith’s leadership in Ohio, Cleveland Hopkins was recognized as the most-improved airport in North America by the international aviation industry organization, Airports Council International-North America.  He led the development of a new $2 billion master plan for the Cleveland Airport System that is developing new cargo facilities and expanded corporate hangars, improved parking facilities, a new on-airport hotel, an improved passenger terminal building, a new on-airport service station/fast food plaza, and a new state-of-the-art FAA Air Traffic Control Tower.


Prior to his service in Cleveland, Mr. Smith served as the Chief Operating Officer for the MDOT MAA.  Mr. Smith 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 MDOT MAA after a two-year departure, Ricky served as the Deputy Administrator for the Maryland State Highway Administration.  There, he oversaw an approximate  $1 billion annual budget and co-developed the financing strategy for the largest capital project in Maryland history – the Inter-County Connector.  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 a degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Howard University and an Executive MBA from Loyola University in Maryland.  He is a graduate of a number of leadership programs, including Leadership Cleveland, the Greater Baltimore Committee, Leadership Anne Arundel, and the University of Maryland Government Executive Institute.  He is active on several national and local boards and industry associations including the American Association of Airport Executives, the Airport Minority Advisory Council, the BWI Business Partnership, and the U.S. Department of Transportation National Freight Advisory Council.