2022 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Deontae K. Watson, MBA, A.A.E.

Dec. 13, 2022
Deontae K. Watson, MBA, A.A.E., Deputy Airport Director, Fayetteville Regional Airport
Deontae K. Watson, MBA, A.A.E., Deputy Airport Director, Fayetteville Regional Airport
Deontae K. Watson, MBA, A.A.E., Deputy Airport Director, Fayetteville Regional Airport

Deontae Watson, MBA, A.A.E., currently serves as a deputy airport director at the Fayetteville Regional Airport, responsible for managing airport operations, maintenance, safety, public services, finances and administration. 

"I mostly enjoy how natural my position comes, it shows that airport management is my passion," He said. "I feel as if I have the best job in the world. I’m able to manage airport finance, airport planning & development, airport engineering, airport operations, airport maintenance, airport law, airport marketing, and airport revenue. Even more, my place of work has a family environment and my colleagues are team-oriented, which is why we’ve been successful with completing a $21 million Terminal Renovation Phase I and are in the midst of wrapping up with Terminal Renovation Phase II with a project cost of $33 million."

His early interest in pursuing this type of career stems from his undergraduate time at Tennessee State University, studying aeronautical & industrial technology with a minor in aviation management. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree, Watson obtained an MBA in aviation finance from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Watson is also an Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) and Airport Certified Employee (ACE) through the trade organization, American Association of Airport Executives.

Recently, Watson was nominated to serve on the board of directors of the North Carolina Airports Association where he will help support the growth and sustainability of the 72 airports in the statewide aviation system.

"I like the impact airports have on our communities; being able to connect people from all different walks of life is so rewarding," said Watson. "Working with other industry leaders to make this happen is even more gratifying."
Looking to the future, Watson said he would like to see airports continue to work together, work with regulatory and with airlines to support travelers.

"I would also like to see more educational programs offered by airports to spark interest in the aerospace workforce for our leaders of tomorrow," He said. "The Fayetteville Regional Airport noticed a decline not only in pilots but in our industry entirely, therefore, we hosted a four-day Aviation Career Education Academy to introduce the various careers available in our industry. In my daily walk of life, I incorporate unselfish living and make it my duty to lift others as I climb. I want to be able to indirectly support aviation recruitment efforts by being an industry educator as needed and continue to be an aviation education advocate."