2022 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Mike Edwards

Dec. 13, 2022
Mike Edwards, Director of Aviation, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
Mike Edwards
Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards remembers seeing “Top Gun” at a friend’s house when he was 7 and he never stopped looking up after that. He acknowledges it’s a cliché, but said it’s true nonetheless. When he got older, he had the opportunity to travel commercially, attend  air shows, and see the Blue Angels perform. After graduating from college, he started working in airport operations. “I’ve had many opportunities to work my way up, while gaining invaluable experience in virtually every facet of airport management,” he said.

In 2018 he became the youngest person appointed to serve as director of aviation at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR).

“I feel extremely fortunate to lead an experienced and dedicated team of over 80 airport professionals,” he said. “I’m a people person, and it’s a true privilege to come to work each day and collaborate with a team of professionals who are as motivated and enthusiastic about improving our airport as I am. I have a 6-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter, and they have grown up around the airport, so much so that they often refer to it as ‘Daddy’s airport.’ While I’m always quick to point out that ‘Daddy doesn’t own the airport,’ it’s still a great illustration of how much time and effort goes into running an airport. Our team gives 100 percent of their time and talent to making our airport a success, and it all starts with having a sense of ownership. We work hard because we care about this airport, and we all want to see it thrive.”

Edwards also enjoys the planning and development efforts, which include the $100 million in capital improvements currently underway.

“We just completed a 5-year strategic planning process,” he said, “so my focus here at BTR is currently on expanding air service, improving the customer experience, developing our Aviation Business Park, and improving our workforce and leadership development program.”

Given the challenges the industry is facing in the areas of talent recruitment and retention, Edwards, a licensed pilot – single engine aircraft and rotorcraft, would like to see a greater focus on developing the next generation of airport and aviation professionals. BTR has partnered with Helix Aviation, which is a first-of-its-kind public-use charter school adjacent to an active airfield. Helix provides an aviation-focused STEAM-based curriculum. With enrollment, now at 121 (6th and 7th grade students), it is my hope that the Helix model is one that can be duplicated at other airports. If we’re truly going to address the workforce challenges of our industry, we need to get outside of our comfort zone and provide innovative ways to introduce aviation to the next generation.”

About the Author

Rebecca Kanable | Assistant Editor

Rebecca Kanable, a veteran journalist, joined Endeavor Business Media's aviation group in 2021. She has worked for various publications, including trade magazines and newspapers.

Contact: Rebecca (Becky) Kanable

Assistant Editor of Airport Business, AMT, Ground Support Worldwide 

[email protected]