Top 40 Under 40: Lucas Yezik

Dec. 3, 2014

Name: Lucas Yezik

Title: Airport Development Director

Company: Clear Channel Airports

DOB: 5/28/1980

Years of airports experience: 11+ (since May 2003)

As Director of Airport Development, Lucas is at the forefront of creating and strengthening mutually beneficial airport partnerships throughout the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.  Throughout his career, he has consistently developed and implemented industry-leading media programs along with new business, sales and marketing strategies within CCA’s partner network, including U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, New Zealand and Australia. By doing so, the Clear Channel team generates substantial non-aeronautical airport revenues and enhances terminal facilities and the overall passengers experience by way of a comprehensive, innovative, solutions-based approach to each airport’s unique needs and terminal layout.

Lucas presently oversees a portfolio comprised of over 50 airport partners and their respective media programs and serves as a consultant to three internal sales/operations teams, consisting of over 125 airports and representing $20M in annual revenues.

Lucas carries over eleven years of airport advertising experience holding key positions within CCA, including Team Sales & Operations Manager, Project Redevelopment Manager and International Account Executive.  These roles have included responsibilities and accomplishments such as: supporting teams of up to 20 internal staff as well as managing airport staff and advertiser relationships and all related inventory across a $20MM portfolio; directly managing ten new and redevelopment airport advertising programs in the United States and Caribbean with 50% average growth for CCA program re-launches and  92% average growth over previous concessionaires; a six month stint abroad initializing CCA’s New Zealand / Australia office which has since grown to a portfolio of 25 airports in Australasia.

He has also hired, trained and developed high performers within the organization, including three Project Managers, four Team Sales Managers and a local General Manager for a top-15 U.S. airport.

Eleven years of dedicated airport experience has provided a deep knowledge of the travel industry, the airport environment and the overall passenger experience. A pundit for all things digital and social, Lucas leads an internal focus group for emerging media with a goal of passenger engagement and its varied application potential in an effort to continually position his airport partners as industry leaders in the adoption, application and monetization of emerging media solutions

Lucas is an active member of the AAAE Conference Planning Committee and Student Relations committee, the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Advertising Federation and is involved with over two dozen regional Chambers, Economic Development Committees and Visitors Associations across the U.S.  A native of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania area, Lucas is an alumnus of Lebanon Valley College in central PA, where he studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain and graduated Cum Laude, having received his B.S. in Economics.

Clear Channel Airports is the world's #1 marketer of airport advertising and the premier innovator of contemporary display concepts. CCA has successfully developed and maintained the most comprehensive network of major airports in North America and has over 270 airports worldwide.

Responses to questions:

1)    Why did you select aviation as a career?  In college, I caught the travel bug during a study abroad semester in Spain.  Soon after graduation, I came across an opportunity to join Interspace Airport Advertising, an international airport media firm that had been based in my home town since the 70’s, previously unbeknownst to me. The company experienced tremendous growth in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Clear Channel Airports and Interspace merged in 2006 and the new headquarters remained in Allentown, PA, opening up exciting new career opportunities. 

2)    What advice from a mentor helped you the most in your career? Two long-time colleagues and mentors who are firmly etched into my Mount Rushmore have advised me as follows: plan your work and work your plan; surround yourself with passionate and talented individuals; always agitate (in a positive manner -- never settle, don’t get comfortable, always strive for better); when you are successful, it is the teams’ collective success -- be sure to share the accolades with and thank those involved; similarly, when you fail, hold yourself accountable and grow from that adversity. Thank you, Earl and Jon, for all of your guidance over the years.

3)    What is the biggest challenge you see facing aviation today? Our (U.S.) terminal facilities are rapidly aging and are far behind many of our international peers. Also, airports’ quests to achieve the “ultimate passenger experience” seem often times be reactionary to the latest tech trends and not forward thinking.  The “internet of things” will continue to impact the travel experience for the better, particularly as Millennials, who have come to expect and demand connectivity at all times to all things, comprise an increasingly large segment of the frequent flyer demographic.

4)    What advice would you give to others in the industry? Get out in the industry amongst your peers – conferences, trade shows, tour other airports - in order to continue learning. There’s always a way to do it better. Surround yourself with talented and motivated individuals. Identify peers and mentors who challenge and push you. Remain open-minded about any and all opportunities; if you’re not at least a bit scared, then you’re not truly challenged and you won’t progress. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

5)    What are three things we don't know about you? I am a Philly sports fan (particularly the Flyers), a generous consumer of Starbucks coffee (stimulating airport concessions worldwide!) and the owner of a very stubborn Weimaraner.