2021 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Chad Rosenstein, MBA, C.M., Government Affairs & Grants Director, Lee County Port Authority

Dec. 9, 2021

Chad Rosenstein, MBA, C.M., has become one of the main resources for Florida airports needing help with state and federal issues. Rosenstein serves on the Florida Airports Council (FAC) Board of Directors. He’s a former chair of the FAC Federal Affairs Committee and provides support for the State Affairs Committee. He is a “C.M.,” or Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). He is employed as the government affairs and grants director for Lee County Port Authority.

“I interact with our elected officials, build relationships with them and their offices in case we need to have a conversation with them about a piece of legislation moving forward that could negatively impact the airport,” he said. “I engage with them to just kind of educate them on what the impacts would be.

“I also interact with the federal and state agencies (FAA, TSA, Customs and Border Protection) and coordinate with them on rules and regulations that they create just to make sure that we comply with them. And if there are concerns on our end, I bring that to their attention.

“Another component is the grants. We work with the FAA, primarily, for funding for our commercial and general aviation airport.”

Under Rosenstein’s leadership, the airport has received millions of dollars in grants from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program and the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as COVID-19 economic relief from the federal CARES and CRRSA acts. He also helped the airport receive millions of dollars in TSA reimbursement for its baggage handling system (BHS) explosive detection system (EDS) inline installation.

In 10 years with the port authority, he has served in increasing roles of responsibility from noise and airspace coordinator, to legislative analyst to the role he has had since 2015. Before working in Fort Myers, he worked in Maine for Delta Air Lines as a station manager. As the airline rep for the airport’s community noise advisory committee, he said, “I began to understand there’s relationship between airports and their community.” He became interested in “the airport side of things” and what it takes to run an airport. He accepted a job at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers as the noise and airspace project coordinator and later transitioned to the port authority.

To say he has a comprehensive view of the airline industry might be an understatement. An aviation-degreed professional, he has a single- and multi-engine land commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating. Holds certified flight instructor and certified flight instructor instrument certificates.

“I’ve loved aviation since I was a young kid, probably 8 years old,” he said. “It’s just something I always thought was amazing. I guess there’s something about being connected to the travel industry and being part of everything the industry has to offer. I think aviation can bring the world together like no other form of transportation can.”