2018 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Tracey L. Wright, C.M.

Oct. 1, 2018

Tracey L. Wright, C.M.
Special Events Manager
Denver International Airport
Age: 37

  • Alma Mater: Metropolitan State College of Denver (currently Metropolitan State University)
  • Favorite Aircraft: Beechcraft Primer Jet
  • Favorite Book: Title, author An Army at Dawn, Rick Atkinson
  • Favorite TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Favorite Movie: Enemy at the Gates
  • Favorite Hobbies: International Travel, Watching My Kids Play Competitive

Tracey Wright is changing the way airports look at special events, using them as a way to increase the value of the airport marketing program, and the airport’s bottom line. She is also redefining the terms "community engagement," "branding" and "airport-as-destination" by being an industry leader in all three areas, according to her nomination form.

In April 2015, Denver International was looking for a special events manager to create and implement something that no other airport in the country did — host free events for passengers, employees and the community.

Wright sees the future of aviation as getting back to a personal approach where passengers, employees and the community enjoy coming out the airport. But her greatest challenge — and one closest to her heart — was bringing a free ice skating rink to the center plaza of the airport.

“The project took 12 months, was organized across 15 departments and the outcome was more than we could have ever expected,” said Wright. “The first year, 2016, we had more than 8,000 skaters from flight crews to employees, passengers, and school groups. People came in masses,” she said.

By the second year, the airport enlarged the rink and skate change area and added an Airstream trailer as the skate shop, said Wright. “We hit 16,000 skaters in 2017. This is by far my proudest moment. By creating an environment at an airport, with the sounds of aircraft departing and arriving on runways less than a mile away, people are coming out to for a fun, free family-and-friends environment,” she said. “That’s why I do what I do.”

“I love transforming the antiquated idea of an airport as a stressful shell of departure into a bona fide adventure; and into a destination for travelers, families, nearby residents, and employees alike. We have a surprise and delight space for passengers, employees, and the community to enjoy, relax and unwind,” said Wright. “It’s unheard of at airports in the U.S., where most people feel stressed or rushed, Denver International Airport is charting a new course for what an airport can be and I get to be a part of that history.”

Wright majored in aviation management at the Metropolitan State College of Denver and started her aviation career at Centennial Airport as an intern. “I worked my way up through airport operations and noise abatement. I loved the dynamic, fast-paced industry,” she said.

She stepped out of the industry for a few years to start a family, and did some part-time event planning. Her two passions, aviation and event planning, married together when she began work with Denver International Airport.