Top 40 Under 40: Nora Richardson

Before joining LeighFisher as a director in its business and finance practice, Nora Richardson wasn’t in aviation at all. She actually worked for a major investment bank and a technology firm. She actually joined LeighFisher in 2001 and was promoted to director, after just a decade with the company, a status that reflects her contributions to airport clients, airport and aviation industry organizations, and public policy.

She’s touched a range of projects in her consulting work including airport-airline negotiations, passenger facility charge (PFC) program management, bond issuances, federal funding applications, and rental car and parking development. Richardson has assisted many airport sponsors, including the City of Philadelphia, Maryland Aviation Administration, City of Manchester’s Department of Aviation, Los Angeles World Airports, Oklahoma City Airports Trust, Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Tulsa Airport Authority, and Norfolk Airport Authority.

Even with a geographically diverse set of clients and a daunting travel schedule, Richardson contributes to industry trade associations including Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) and the American Association of Airport Executives (A.A.A.E.). At ACI-NA and A.A.A.E. meetings she has organized conferences and regularly presents on topics such as airline agreements, airport capital funding sources, rental cars and parking, PFC funding, and FAA Letters of Intent (LOI) applications. Richardson also serves on ACI-NA’s Finance Steering Committee. Richardson holds a Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University, and gives back to academia as an annual contributor to the University of California Berkeley Short Course on Aviation Planning where she helps educate many of the industry’s top young professionals.

Because of her track record in working with the FAA on client-related matters, Richardson has worked directly with the FAA on regulatory reform, including the PFC and LOI programs. Her consulting work for the FAA contributed directly to the creation of the non-hub pilot program for PFCs as well as other changes.