Top 40 Under 40: William Welstead

Bill Welstead does all he can to overcome the challenges that come with being the director of three airports. As the director of the City of Fort Worth Airport System, he provides key support to the assistant city manager. He has full management responsibility for the system and recommends policies to the Aviation Advisory Board and Fort Worth City Council for strategic planning and operation of Alliance, Meacham International and Spinks airports.

Prior to serving as director, Welstead served as an airman in the United States Coast Guard at Los Angeles International Airport and Mobile Regional Airport; public information officer for the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics; operations supervisor at Omaha’s medium hub commercial airport, Eppley Airfield; and airport manager of Meacham International Airport.

Welstead is an accredited airport executive, a member of the American Association of Airport Executives (A.A.A.E.), the A.A.A.E. Finance and Administration Committee, the A.A.A.E. Airport Operations/ Safety/ PlanningCommittee, the ACI-NA Finance Committee and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Airport Terminals and Ground Access (AVO50). Welstead also provides technical guidance to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies through the Airport Cooperative Research Program.

Welstead received his Bachelor’s degree in aviation management from the University of Nebraska Omaha where he graduated with honors as Aviation Student of the Year. He is also a pilot and continues to enjoy flying today.

His advice to other young people hoping to break into an aviation career is that “it may feel like a slow process getting there, but if you have a plan and work that plan, you will succeed, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. Don’t make excuses; just push hard in pursuing your goals.”

“I want you to understand Bill’s determination in running the airport as an efficient business, rather than just another government division. Specifically, he negotiated a 40-year contract that resulted in a 418 percent increase in the tenant’s lease, and another contract that resulted in a 289 percent lease increase, and additional $211,200 in annual revenue for the Meacham airport.”

James Burris, administration manager, City of Fort Worth

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