2023 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Mark C. Cozad, MSA, C.M.

Dec. 19, 2023
Mark C. Cozad, MSA, C.M., Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Lead Airport Certification Safety Inspector

Mark Cozad’s role as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lead airport certification safety inspector involves coordinating the regional safety program to ensure uniformity and consistency nationwide. His leadership is nationally recognized by the FAA's Headquarters staff. Cozad's journey with the FAA began in 2013, and since then, he has showcased remarkable dedication to enhancing global leadership and safety standards.

In his current position, he works closely with airport management and operations personnel to achieve regulatory compliance and operational safety at 14 CFR Part 139 airports. His responsibilities include conducting inspections, overseeing Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) operations, ensuring fueling compliance, and managing airport personnel training records. Cozad's collaborative approach and effective communication have fostered strong professional relationships with airport stakeholders.

“Having the opportunity to work with individuals that have a common goal to keep commercial service airports operationally safe is inspirational,” Cozad said.

One of his significant achievements is leading international workshops in Africa and Fiji to enhance global leadership and collaboration. He has presented on Part 139 standards, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, and FAA best practices, showcasing his dedication to sharing knowledge and improving safety worldwide. Cozad's presentations required in-depth research of ICAO standards and recommended practices, emphasizing his commitment to staying at the forefront of industry standards.

“The FAA has provided many opportunities to achieve my professional goals over the past 10 years,” he said. “However, in 2016 I was accepted into a rigorous 18-month FAA leadership program (Program for Emerging Leaders). During my time in the program, I had many opportunities to fill key leadership roles within the agency.”

Those roles included (Acting) Assistant Division Manager for the Safety and Operations Branch (AAS-301); (Acting) Deputy Division Manager for Central Region (ACE-601); and (Acting) Airport Compliance Manager for the Airports Compliance Branch (ACO-100).

“Graduating from the FAA’s leadership program in 2018 has provided many leadership opportunities for my career,” Cozad said. “In addition, I have led/organized a number of International Workshops (for Aerodrome Inspectors). Those are all important career achievements for me as well. “

His dedication to teaching extends to his role as an adjunct professor at Kansas State University, where he imparts his knowledge of Airport Management and Airport Operations and Safety to aspiring aviation professionals. This commitment to education showcases Cozad's desire to contribute to the growth and development of the next generation in the aviation industry.

“I enjoy working with my colleagues in the region and throughout the country,” he said. “My job is very dynamic, as aviation is always changing and evolving, and there is always a new challenge.”  

Looking ahead, Cozad aims to continue leading change in airport safety globally.

“As the Lead Airport Certification Safety Inspector for the FAA-Central Region, I have the opportunity each and every day to make an impact in the airport industry,” he said. “Leading Aerodrome Workshops in counties that are in the process of developing safety standards is very fulfilling to me. I would like to continue to serve as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Airport Safety throughout the globe.