Awards and Recognition

ACI-NA has a rich history of recognizing best practices and individuals through its awards programs.  Here is background information about each.

William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award

As ACI-NA’s most prestigious award, the “William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award” is the namesake of Bill Downes, the former commissioner of aviation for the City of Chicago from 1959 to 1975.

The eligible nominee must meet at least one of the following criteria.  The nominee shall have provided in his or her career:

  • Outstanding leadership and action in the cause of Airport or Aviation Management; or,
  • Successful work for acceptance, development and support of needed airport programs; or,
  • Fostering of cooperation among various segments of aviation, with the result of bettering airports; or
  • A creative approach to solving today’s problems with a plan for future airport and aviation development.

Any person is eligible for this award provided they are not recognized as an active Official Representative by Airports Council International-North America.

Accomplishments of primary importance to the William E. Downes, Jr. Award Selection Committee include those made in the field of airport management in the U.S. and Canada.  However, individuals from other organizations including a governmental body, private industry, academic institution or private citizen, and in other ACI regions, are eligible for recognition provided such accomplishments had a significant and outstanding positive impact on airports or aviation.

Ted Bushelman Legacy Award for Creativity and Excellence

In June 2008, the Marketing and Communications Committee launched the Ted Bushelman Legacy Award for Creativity and Excellence to be presented at the annual ACI-North America Marketing & Communications Conference.  The award is named for its first recipient, Ted Bushelman, who served as Senior Director of Communications, Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport for 40 years.

The award will go to an individual nominated and selected by his or her peers in the airport industry. This special award recognizes the values, accomplishments and creativity of airport marketing and communications professionals who also share those talents and contribute to the legacy of professionalism experienced throughout our meetings and programs. The Committee reserves the right to withhold the award any year when there are not suitable nominees.

The following criteria will be used as guidance when selecting an award winner. The recipient of this award must have a minimum of 15 years experience in one or more of the disciplines represented by the Marketing and Communications Committee. Those disciplines include:

  • media relations
  • community relations
  • aviation education
  • customer service
  • marketing, and
  • air service development  

In addition, the individual who is selected must have a record of demonstrating his or her skills, expertise, and professionalism in some or all of the following areas:

  • Promotes the professionalism of the marketing and communications disciplines within the airport industry;
  • Has a history of generating and embracing new ideas to promote and support his or her airport’s programs and services;
  • Actively shares his or her knowledge and experience with other marketing and communications professionals within the airport industry;
  • Participates in the ACI-NA Marketing and Communications Committee and attends its programs; and
  • Promotes the importance, and advances the understanding, of airports and aviation within the broader community.

Deadline: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 award and the winner will be announced in Edmonton on June 25. The nomination deadline is April 16.

Award Winners

  • 2008 - Ted Bushelman, Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • 2009 - Michael Conway, Detroit Metropolitan Airport
  • 2010 - Jerry Staples, Halifax International Airport
  • 2011 - Tara Hamilton, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
  • 2012 - Patricia Rowe, Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport
  • 2013 - Not awarded
  • 2014 - Lucinda Harshman, Pittsburgh International Airport


Excellence in Airport Marketing & Communications Contest

The Excellence in Airport Communications Contest has been in existence since 1990.  The Airports Council International-North America’s Marketing & Communications Committee sponsors this annual competition.  This contest allows ACI-NA to recognize the quality of work, abundance of talent, and creativity within the marketing and communications field of the airport industry.

The “Excellence in Airport Marketing & Communications Contest” honors airport professionals that offer expertise and talent in a variety of categories including web site design, annual reports, newsletters, advertising campaigns, special event planning and more.

A major component of the contest is the judges’ selection of the recipient of the Peggy G. Hereford Excellence in Communications Award.  This award symbolizes overall achievement in an airport’s marketing and public relations programs, honoring the creativity and effectiveness of the airport’s staff.

Deadline: The call for entries for the 2014 contest has now passed. The winners will be announced in June in Edmonton during the 2014 Marketing and Communications Conference.


ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards

Since 1997, ACI-NA has granted Environmental Achievement Awards to recognize its airport members that strive to protect and preserve the environment through their programs, initiatives and projects.  Established by the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee, the annual Awards acknowledge the hard work and achievements of ACI-NA members by promoting awareness more broadly within the airport community, the general public and regulators of the many notable and innovative efforts being undertaken by environmental professionals at airports. 

Environmental and planning staffs at our airports deserve recognition for their efforts in developing and implementing programs that protect the environment while keeping their airport’s projects on schedule, minimizing community and regulatory controversy and using creative means of maximizing overall cost-benefit.  

Awards may be granted in the categories of environmental management, mitigation, outreach/education/community involvement, and special/innovative projects.  Entries will be judged based on environmental benefit, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability, and cost effectiveness.

In 2014, the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee launched a new category within the Environmental Achievement Awards that recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to the Committee. Winners of the “Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership” Award are nominated by their peers within the Committee and confirmed by Committee Leadership. The annual award will provide a special member “thank you” and encourage continued contribution to ACI-NA and the aviation industry. 

Entries:  We have just completed the 2014 Environmental Awards and selected winners.  We will begin accepting entries for the 2015 Environmental Awards in the spring


ACI-NA Richard A. Griesbach Excellence in Airport Concessions Contest

The ACI-NA Excellence in Concessions Contest honors the contributions of Richard A. Griesbach, whose influence on the commercial development of airports extended far beyond his employment with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.  At the 10th annual awards ceremony in 2007, the category of Concessions Person of the Year was added.

The purpose of the ACI-NA Excellence in Airport Concessions Contest is to inspire creativity in the industry and to recognize innovative and outstanding airport concessions.  These awards help to demonstrate the growing importance of concessions to the total airport experience. 

One airport will receive the ‘Griesbach Overall Award of Excellence’.  To be eligible, an airport member must submit entries in both Best Food & Beverage Program and Best Retail/Specialty Program categories.

Entries: 2012 Call for Entries will be available in Summer 2012. 

Deadline: The 2011 winners were recognized at the Awards Ceremony in Atlanta, at the 2011 Airport Concessions Conference.