2021 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Alex Renteria-Aguilar, Public Information Officer, Denver International Airport

Dec. 9, 2021
Alex Renteria-Aguilar
Alex Renteria-Aguilar

“What kind of chocolate do they sell at the airport?” “Plane chocolate.”

During the pandemic, people have had to get creative and find new ways to engage with one another. Denver International Airport (DEN) shared a few jokes in “Just Plane Funny,” its virtual Camp DEN, offering fun for all ages.

DEN Public Information Officer Alex Renteria-Aguilar, who came up with the idea, said, “When the pandemic hit, everybody stopped traveling, and we stopped going to the airport – even as employees. We wanted to keep engaging our customers and our passengers without them having to be inside the airport so we developed Camp DEN.” Activities, now suggested activities while waiting for a flight, include learning the (phonetic) airport alphabet and watching videos of the pets in the airport’s pet therapy program. In 2020, Alex Renteria-Aguilar also led a virtual tour series to help stakeholders keep updated on key projects and operations at the airport.

Her leadership skills and understanding of the airport also helped her inform the public during the 2021 blizzard. “What I like to say is DEN knows snow,” Renteria-Aguilar said. “We are no stranger to weather. Our state and our city, we get it. Especially when it comes to our snow operations.”

In March 2019, there was the “bomb cyclone.” “It was insane,” she said. “I slept at the airport a couple of nights because we were supporting passengers who were stranded overnight. It wasn’t just me, it was our whole team. Passing out blankets, overnight kits, food vouchers and then providing information on social media to passengers. It got so bad at one point that we were recommending that people not come to the airport because flights weren’t getting out. It’s amazing to see the airport at its finest – and I think that’s when we’re in crisis mode. Our airport is incredible. Our snow team can clear a runway in 15 minutes or less.”

Renteria-Aguilar’s job seems anything but dull. “Being in public relations can be tough, with demanding hours and complex topics to digest. I love the fast pace and constant learning,” she said. “I truly love my job. I’d say my favorite thing about it is the passionate people I get to work alongside. Many of my team members have been at the airport since it opened more than 25 years ago. The people who make up DEN are aviation enthusiasts and care deeply about their jobs.”

In addition to serving as a public information officer, Renteria-Aguilar mentors a high school intern and is a member of the airport’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team.

When asked what she would like to see for the future of aviation, she said, “I would like to see more people of color, specifically women of color, represented in aviation. The industry is dynamic and there is so much opportunity. It would be wonderful to see the diversity of our world reflected in our staff.”