2021 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Justin Wortman, AIA

Dec. 9, 2021
Justin Wortman Headshot Color 615b4dfd21a3b

When Justin Wortman got out of college in 2008, he got a job with a small local architecture firm in Los Angeles that did a lot of work with Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). He quickly got to experience a wide range of aviation planning exercises ranging and fell in love with it.

“I really enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of it,” Wortman said. “Many typologies involve formulaic or scripted approaches, but with airports, each one really is different." 

Wortman has been engaged in major airport programs across the country where he consistently pushes innovation and efficiency in planning and design.

Early in his career, Wortman developed a close working relationship with the director of terminal planning at LAX, who was briefly embedded as in-house planning staff.

Working on the Terminal 3 West program, Wortman acted as a bridge between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and airline stakeholders as the airport negotiated critical aspects of passenger experience related to the interim conditions.

When the Chicago Department of Aviation wanted to convert O’Hare International Airport (ORD) Terminal 5 from an international terminal to a mix of domestic/international, Wortman identified opportunities resulting in a roadmap that allowed the authority to reconsider spend on long-term needs.

“I believe in the importance of connecting with clients on a personal level to better understand their goals and pressures," he said. Once you make that connection and find a common ground, you are better able to support their needs” 

Recently, he returned to LAX where he leads the principal architect/engineer contract for HOK and is a trusted advisor to a new generation of leadership at LAWA. 

Wortman leveraged technology to define a streamlined approach for engaging more than 300 local firms in a virtual outreach event during the pandemic. Each firm was provided an opportunity to engage directly with principals at HOK for a dedicated one-on-one. More than 170 firms were engaged through these individual sit downs.

As the aviation industry grappled with the effects of COVID-19, Wortman led an ACC subcommittee focused on how the industry could better coordinate with the FAA to maintain long-range planning efforts at airports across the country. He co-authored a whitepaper, which has led to an incredibly productive ongoing dialogue between the FAA and ACC.

Wortman serves as a mentor for DIY Girls, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women within STEAM industries

About the Author

Joe Petrie | Editor & Chief

Joe Petrie is the Editorial Director for the Endeavor Aviation Group.

Joe has spent the past 15 years writing about the most cutting-edge topics related to transportation and policy in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on transportation issues for the past 10 years.

Contact: Joe Petrie

Editor & Chief | Airport Business

[email protected]


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