The Greater Baltimore Urban League Announces New Board Chair

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Mr. Ricky D. Smith, the new Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Greater Baltimore Urban League. (Courtesy Photo)

Baltimore, MD, June 1, 2021–The Greater Baltimore Urban League has selected and appointed Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Mr. Ricky D. Smith, as its new Chairman of the Board of Directors. Smith has served on the board of director for the last four years and will take his position on June 25, 2021.

“The Urban League has been a source of inspiration for me since childhood. It is one of my greatest honors to serve an organization that I have revered for so long while serving the community most dear to my heart. I am humbled and inspired to serve as the new chair of the Greater Baltimore Urban League and hope to meet the leadership expectations of the board, Tiffany Majors and her team and, most importantly, the public that this great organization serves,” says Smith.

Ricky Dorell Smith has been serving as the Executive Director/CEO of the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) since July 10, 2015. Ricky is responsible for the management and operations of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall), Martin State Airport, and regional aviation activities throughout the State of Maryland.

Ricky is an over 30-year aviation and transportation professional. He returned to Maryland after serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Airport System, which includes Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport. In addition, he was responsible for overseeing the development and management of the City’s lakefront properties.

Since returning to BWI Marshall, Mr. Smith has led the airport to five (5) consecutive record-setting years for passengers including restoring BWI Marshall as the busiest airport in the Washington-Baltimore region and being recognized as the Airport Council International’s Best Airport in North America for customer service. Establishing a culture of performance, customer service, safety, and innovation, the airports have received several national and regional awards for customer service, capital development, and marketing including two Emmy Awards. Overseeing major facilities expansions of the airports, enhanced the terminal concessions program, and expanded domestic air service. In 2017, the LaunchPad program was started to enable minority-owned micro-businesses the opportunity to participate in BWI Marshall’s thriving food and retail program without barriers to entry. In 2015, he launched the BWI Marshall Summer Youth Initiative aimed at introducing youth in Baltimore City to careers in aviation and transportation.

To date, over 100 youths have participated in this program. These efforts led to BWI Marshall recently receiving the Airports Council International-North America Diversity Inclusion Award for Large Hub Airports.

Prior to his service in Cleveland, Mr. Smith served as the Chief Operating Officer for the MAA, where he helped lead BWI Marshall Airport through a $2 billion expansion program, increased air service throughout the world, and the creation of a new food and retail program. Prior to returning to the MAA, after a two-year departure, Ricky served as the Deputy Administrator for the Maryland State Highway Administration. In addition, he served in the private sector for several years with International Business Machines, H&R Block Business Services, The May Company, and others.

Ricky holds an Accounting degree from Howard University and an Executive MBA from Loyola University in Maryland. He is a graduate of several leadership programs, including the Greater Baltimore Committee and Leadership Cleveland. He is active on several national and local boards and industry associations including the Airport Minority Advisory Council, American Association of Airport Executives, the Washington Board of Trade, the BWI Business Partnership, World Trade Center Institute, Greater Baltimore Urban League, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, and the Morgan State University School of Communications Board of Advisors.

He has been recognized as the Leon C. Watkins Guardian Award recipient by Airports Council International/ North America (2020), ‘The Honorable Ray LaHood Man of the Year’ by Women Transportation Seminar (2019), ‘Power 10 CEO’ by the Baltimore Business Journal (2018), ‘People Who Move America’ by the Boys Scouts of America (2018), ‘Thomas G. Newsome Founder’s Leadership Award’ by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (2018), ‘Influential Marylander’ by The Daily Record (2017), the Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association ‘Black History Hero’ award (2017), ‘Most Influential CEO in Northeast Ohio’ by Crain’s Magazine (2014, 2013), ‘National Executive of the Year’ by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (2010), and ‘Congressional Achievement Award’ from Congressman Elijah Cummings (2006).

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