2020 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Blake Astran, J.D.

Nov. 24, 2020

Blake Astran started his career as an attorney, but when a friend showed him a job posting for an executive search firm, Astran found himself on a career path he hadn’t even known existed before.

“I didn’t even know the executive recruiting industry existed,” Astran said. “I was taught the industry from scratch.”

The firm Astran joined worked heavily with transit agencies and port authorities, notably the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and it was decided that Astran would attend the AAAE conference that year to expand his network. And as chance would have it, ADK Consulting and Executive Search – Astran’s current firm – was sponsoring at the event. Astran reached out to introduce himself and found they had an opening.

“It was a match made in Heaven,” he said.

Astran joined ADK in 2018 and is now the firm’s vice president of business operations. Utilizing his superb networking skills, Astran has inspired some of the best transit leaders to transition to the aviation industry, bringing fresh ideas and concepts to the organizations where these executives have been placed.

“I think of myself as a connector. I love finding executives for airports and having that affect change through other people. I love that I am changing someone’s world in the sense that if an airport hires our firm to put in their new general manager or CEO, I’m calling people who are looking for jobs or finding someone out of the blue who may not be looking, but it’s a position they haven’t thought about and it would be great; hopefully I am giving them a better position,” said Astran.

Holding a firm belief that the right candidate can make a great difference to an organization, the local community and the industry as a whole, Astran has partnered with leading aviation organizations nationwide to help them find the very best executives to join and enhance their teams.

With the future in mind as more airports earn their spaceport certification, Astran is preparing for the future by evaluating requirements and characteristics of the future leaders who will move that industry ahead. He is utilizing his close ties with local governments and multimodal transit agencies and port authorities to plan for new roles evolving from aerospace operations.

“I think that could be the future – commercial space travel,” Astran said. “As that becomes more common place, I think that will be the future, having these airports set up to service both domestic travel, in the sense of staying in the world, but also be able to fly over the horizon and be able to see the world from a much different perspective.”