2021 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Matthew Nelson, ASC, Vice President of Facilities, Birmingham Airport Authority

Dec. 9, 2021

Matthew Nelson joined the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (BHM) Airport as his second job out of college and quickly rose through the ranks – becoming the Vice President of Facilities for the Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) by the time he was 32 years old.

Nelson’s fast rise over his near-ten years with the BAA is due not only to his work ethic, but his background in sports. A basketball player for most of his life, Nelson brings the same competitiveness from the court to his work and enjoys tackling the challenges of the aviation world.

“Coming from a sports background and being competitive, I enjoy the overall challenge of my job. Every day there's something new in the world of aviation that I must internalize or be able to execute for my day-to-day duties. The good thing about aviation, every day is different, with the challenge of you knowing that you're responsible for the safety of the 5 million people that travel through the airport a year,” Nelson said.

Nelson joined BHM in 2012 as Operations Specialist I. He quickly advanced his career with the airport and was named Operations Supervisor in 2015. In 2020, he assumed the Manager of Facilities position and was responsible for managing more than 40 personnel, budgeting, preparing cost estimates and managing cost efficient maintenance for the airport.

Promoted to Vice President in February 2021, Nelson directs the facilities department, plans, and directs the work of custodial and maintenance personnel, and ensures efficient maintenance for the airport including all airport owned properties.

As a Birmingham-native, Nelson explains he’s proud to be working in and giving back to his home community, and to have had the opportunities he’s had with the airport after “stumbling” into aviation.

“I kind of stumbled upon aviation and I fell love with it. It’s amazing to be able to be a part of an organization that believes in you and able to see your growth and grant the opportunity to get promoted because, being promoted six times in eight years, you don't see that all the time. That was a great accomplishment for me personally,” he said.

Some of Nelson’s accomplishments includes supervising landside and airside operations during a $201.6 million terminal modernization project, ensuring smooth operations during several runway and taxiway reconstructions. Nelson is also assisting in current projects, such as building an aircraft rescue firefighting station to improve safety and emergency response time at BHM and the airfield marking improvement project that covers all runways, taxiways, aprons and cargo areas to improve safety and visibility. He is overseeing a facilities improvement project that includes electrical and lighting upgrades, signage upgrades, interior and exterior improvement and more, all which will enhance the customer experience.

With his work, Nelson hopes that passengers have the greatest experience possible and “keep on coming with a smile on their face.”

“When passenger fly out or into Birmingham, I want you to say, ‘I had the best experience. It was nice and clean. I loved the overall look of the facilities. It was easy to navigate through the airport and a smooth transition to the gate area’. We're in the process of implementing many upgrades to the terminal and I’m overseeing those projects. With the new upgrades, we have many opportunities to be able to enhance our customer experience,” Nelson continued.

About the Author

Walker Jaroch | Editor

Contact: Walker Jaroch

Editor | AMT

[email protected]


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