Thella F. Bowens


Immediate Past Chair

In March 2003, Thella F. Bowens was appointed President/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the owner and operator of San Diego International Airport.  As President/CEO, Ms. Bowens is responsible for management oversight of the Authority, the Authority’s $145.0 million annual budget and approximately 380 employees.

Prior to 2003, when the San Diego Unified Port District operated the Airport, Ms. Bowens was the Port’s Senior Director of Aviation for seven years.  From September 2001 through December 2002, simultaneous with her position at the Port, she wore the hat of Interim Executive Director/President of the new Authority as required by State legislation which created the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.  In that role, she performed the monumental task of planning the transfer of the Airport.

Prior to coming to San Diego, Ms. Bowens served as the Deputy Executive Director of Kansas City’s Aviation Department which included Kansas City International Airport and the city’s two general aviation airports.  She previously served as Budget Administrator for the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport in Texas.  She has acquired 35 years of experience in public administration, with the last 21 years in the aviation field.

Ms. Bowens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College of Columbia University and has done graduate work at the University of North Texas and University of Missouri-Kansas City.  She is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

In addition to her professional associations, Ms. Bowens is a member of the boards of the National Conflict Resolution Center, the San Diego World Trade Center, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the American Association of Airport Executives Policy Review Committee.  In 2007, she completed a second three-year term on the board of Airports Council International – North America, and also previously served on the boards of the San Diego United Way and the San Diego Symphony.