AVL’s Lew Bleiweis Becomes Airports Council Chair

Jan. 3, 2020

Following his election in September, Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Executive Director Lew S. Bleiweis, A.A.E., became chair of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) on Jan. 1, succeeding Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport CEO Candace McGraw. In addition, ACI-NA announced the election of several new leaders across the organization.

“ACI-NA remains committed to our mission to advocate policies and provides services that strengthen the ability of airports to serve their passengers, customers, and communities,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Under Candace’s leadership, airports have made significant progress in advancing airport priorities and increasing our visibility in Washington and Ottawa. We appreciate her dedication to our association and the airport industry.”

“Though airports have made recent progress, our work is far from over,” continued Burke. “As the executive director of one of North America’s fastest growing airports, Lew will bring broad industry expertise and a deep understanding of the unique challenges our industry faces. We look forward to further advancing the airport industry under his leadership.”

“ACI-NA continues to serve our industry well as the premier trade association representing the commercial airport industry in North America,” said Bleiweis. “The value of the relationships ACI-NA has with our elected officials and government regulators cannot be measured. I look forward to continuing that important work with my industry colleagues to advance airport priorities and promote the many positive benefits that airports bring their communities every day.”

Bleiweis has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry with the majority of his time focused on airport management, including areas of properties, operations, maintenance, purchasing, and risk management.

He has been with the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority since 2008, and has led the organization since 2009. During his tenure, he has grown the organization from a non-hub airport to a thriving small hub airport with over one million passengers and increased the airport’s fund balance from just over $7 million to $31 million, while overseeing more than $100 million in capital expansion projects. Prior to joining Asheville, Bleiweis held leadership positions at the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, the Kansas City Aviation Department, and the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission.

In addition to welcoming a new chair, ACI-NA also announced the election of several new board members and policy council members, including:

  • Sam Samaddar, airport director of the Kelowna International Airport, moved into the vice chair position and McGraw will now serve as the immediate past chair.
  • Elected to the ACI-NA Board of Directors were Paul Bradbury, airport director of the Portland International Jetport, Kevin Bumen, airport director of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, Arif Ghouse, airport director of the Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport, and Bernie Leblanc, president and CEO of the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport. As immediate past chair of the ACI-NA World Business Partners/Associates Board of Directors, Ana Sotorrio, president of Aviation Strategies & Trade Solutions, will also join the ACI-NA Board of Directors.
  • Joyce Carter, President and CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority, was elected to serve as chair of the Canadian Policy Council, and RJ Steenstra, president and CEO of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, elected as vice chair. Other members newly elected to the Canadian Policy Council include Gene Cabral, executive vice-president of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and PortsToronto, Stephen Wilcox, airport manager of the Oshawa Executive Airport and president of Total Aviation & Airport Solutions, and Gordon Duke, president and CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority. Bob Sartor, president and CEO of the Calgary International Airport Authority also became the chair of the CAC’s Large Airports Caucus.
  • Michael A. Giardino, executive director of the Peninsula Airport Commission was elected chair of the small hub airports committee and will join the U.S. Policy Council in that role.
  • Derryl Benton, executive vice president, business development of HMSHost Corp. became the 2020 chair of the ACI-NA World Business Partners/Associates Board of Directors, with Monica Newhouse-Rodriguez, managing principal of Newhouse & Associates, LLC, as vice chair. Other members newly elected to the WBP/Associates Board include Padraig Drennan, president & CEO of Stellar Partners Inc., Michael Hotaling, senior vice president aviation practice leader of C&S Companies, and Margaret E. McKeough, principal of PMG Paslay Management Group.