2017 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Amy Ludwig

Nov. 3, 2017

Amy Ludwig
Administrator of Aviation, Missouri Department of Transportation
AGE: 36

  • Alma Mater: University of Missouri
  • What person has impacted your career the most?: My parents
  • If I could visit any airport in the world, it would be: Marrakech Menara Airport

Amy Ludwig has delivered outstanding results during her five years leading aviation for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). She has continuously gone above and beyond to make Missouri one of the top aviation-friendly states in the nation. In 2016, MoDOT spent $29.9 million in federal funds and $8.7 million in state aviation funds for projects ranging from airport pavement improvements to supporting Automated Weather Observation Systems.

Ludwig and her team were commended by the FAA for delivering the highest level of activity since the inception of the Missouri State Block Grant Program, administered by MoDOT. They were also recognized by the FAA for outstanding progress reducing the length of time it takes between execution and closeout of block grants. This meant more projects were completed, improving aviation in the state.

Her leadership, sheer determination and support from her MoDOT aviation team, along with support from Missouri’s 124 public-use airports, contributed to improving the average of public runway pavements in good condition to 87 percent statewide, up from 70 percent nine years ago. These smoother, safer runways are much appreciated by the flying public.

A Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study was recently completed under Ludwig’s leadership. Major findings of the study included:

  • The economic contribution of Missouri airports has grown more than 17 percent over the last decade. This growth has been fueled by an increase in corporate/business aviation activity.
  • Airports generate more than $11.1 billion in annual output, or 4.3 percent of the state’s gross product.
  • This output translates into 100,621 jobs - approximately one of every 35 jobs in Missouri.

Ludwig serves as the NASAO Regional Director for the Central Region, representing Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. She also serves on the NASAO Legislative Committee, where she develops and gives input on federal legislation. Aviation partners she works with include: FAA, airport sponsors, consultants, contractors, AOPA, AASHTO Aviation Council, Missouri Pilots Association, Statewide Aviation Advisory Committee, Missouri Airport Managers Association and Missouri State Aviation Council.

Under Ludwig’s leadership, Missouri successfully enacted the following state legislation: Extended the Missouri State Aviation Trust Fund for another 10 years; expanded and modified what Missouri’s Aviation Trust Fund monies could be used for, which allowed many of the public airports in the state to make improvements; and eliminated the sunset date on the state sales tax exemption for aircraft parts, keeping aviation more affordable and the Missouri aviation industry more competitive nationwide.

Ludwig, who was previously an MoDOT attorney, is a dedicated public servant who continuously goes the extra mile to ensure that state citizens are given a world-class transportation experience that delights customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri.

Ludwig said the best part of her job is working with aviation stakeholders in Missouri. “I have the opportunity to work closely with a great group of people, and we all have the same goal: to continue to improve Missouri’s airport system,” she said. “There is a strong sense of community—people care about each other on a personal level and want all of Missouri’s airports to be successful.”

A big career challenge for Ludwig now is how to continue to deliver needed projects at airports with limited funds. “The project needs at Missouri airports far exceed the funding available, and we are always working to stretch the funds we do receive as far as we possibly can,” she stated.

Her favorite part of being in the aviation industry is working with the people she’s gotten to know through her position. “When we are trying to identify funding for a project or looking for solutions to a problem, there is a real sense of collaboration between MoDOT aviation staff, the airport sponsor, the airport consultant and the FAA,” she said. “Another thing I really enjoy about working in the aviation industry is that no day is the same. There are constantly new issues arising that we haven’t encountered before. It keeps the job from ever becoming boring.”

Ludwig didn’t have a piece of career advice, but noted that some of the best preparation she had for her career came from studying alternative dispute resolution while in law school. “Those courses helped me to realize that understanding where someone else is coming from and finding common ground can help bring about successful resolution to issues and conflicts,” she said.