2017 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Stephanie Murphy, CEM

Nov. 3, 2017

Stephanie Murphy
Manager of the Emergency Management and Preparedness
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
AGE: 36

  • Alma Mater: California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) – Master of Science, Emergency Services Administration; University of California, Irvine (UCI) – Bachelor of Arts, Criminology, Law & Society
  • What is your dream job? I actually think I have it! Exciting, dynamic and focused on helping others. I can’t complain. But, if I couldn’t do this, I’d be a Broadway actress.
  • Who has impacted your career the most? I wouldn’t credit just one person, but the community of people I have served and continue to serve through my career. Whether helping them get through an emergency or working with my colleagues to be prepared, they all teach me something and impact me in unique ways. They help me grow every day.
  • If I could go anywhere, it would be: Antarctica. It’s the only continent I haven’t set foot on.
  • If I could have dinner with anyone living or dead: Condoleezza Rice. She is focused and  strong female leader. I would love to ask her how she does it!
  • Favorite airport restaurant/eatery: I don’t have one, I like to visit them all… but in a pinch, I’ll take a good Dunkin’ coffee any day!

When Stephanie Murphy was growing up, she developed a love for travel. Her family came from Central America and her parents encouraged exposing her to different cultures and the love continued into adulthood.

Having traveled to six continents, 30 different countries and visited all 50 states, Murphy is someone who loves to be around travel, so when she got an opportunity to work in aviation, it was a chance to meld her passion with her professional focus of emergency management.

“I love helping people be prepared,” she said. “There’s no better feeling than when you’re talking to somebody and providing that knowledge and passion that you have and seeing them say ‘oh, this is how I can be better prepared, this is how we as a community can be better prepared and how we as an industry can do better or reinforce the things we’re already doing.”

Murphy joined the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in 2015 and currently serves as manager of the Emergency Management and Preparedness Program. In her role, Murphy manages emergency management and preparedness activities for Washington National Airport (DCA), Dulles International Airport (IAD), and the Dulles Toll Road.

During her tenure at MWAA, Murphy established and advanced an emergency management program for MWAA that builds preparedness, response and recovery activities into an all-hazards program.

Murphy developed the first MWAA Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff roster of more than 55 employees, providing them with training and exercising opportunities so as to be better prepared to support airport operations during emergencies.

In November of 2015, she conducted an active shooter full scale exercise for DCA – temporarily closing an entire concourse to ensure first responders could exercise in the true airport environment. In October of 2016, she conducted a complex coordinated attack exercise series at IAD, which consisted of an insider threat functional exercise, full scale exercise focusing on unified command and terminal evacuations, and a recovery tabletop exercise – all within a week-long period of time.

Murphy is developing a program called AirPrepared, which aims to train badged employees about what to do in the first few minutes of an emergency. This program aims to empower badge holders to be leaders during emergencies and help manage the chaos that often ensues.

She currently serves on the ACRP Synthesis S16-04-19 Panel, Incorporating ADA and Functional Needs in Emergency Exercises.

In 2016, Stephanie was named the winner of the International Association of Emergency Manager’s Career Excellence Award, being recognized as a national leader who has made significant contributions throughout her career to promote and improve the emergency management profession.