Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world’s busiest airport

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For over two decades, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has retained the title of the world’s busiest airport.

Hartsfield-Jackson is a hub for Delta Airlines, one of the world’s largest carriers and it is being managed by a black man.

According to Forbes, with five runways, Hartsfield-Jackson employs over 60,000 staff to keep the airfield serving 300,000 passengers each and every day under the leadership of Dr. Kofi Smith.

An aerial view of planes and runways at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia- Pic Credit: Getty Images
An aerial view of planes and runways at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia- Pic Credit: Getty Images

For nearly a decade with Atlanta Airlines Terminal Company (AATC), which operates Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dr. Smith has seen the company grow from employment to client and employee satisfaction, technology, energy savings and more.

Dr. Smith joined the company when he was 35 years as the youngest person to accept the role of a CEO.

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He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999 and went on to receive an Executive MBA in Global Business at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business in 2009.

Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world's busiest airport
Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world’s busiest airport

In 2015, he went to the J. Mack Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University where he graduated with an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration.

According to AATC, Dr. Smith serves as its President & CEO and since his arrival, the outfit has grown its employee base by 109%, creating more positions and employment opportunities for Atlanta residents.

Under his leadership, AATC has been recognized as one of the Top 20 “Best Places to Work” for medium-sized companies in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world's busiest airport
Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world’s busiest airport

Before joining AATC, he had worked for Linc Facility Services from 2007 to 2010. He led the teams that received awards such as the “2007 Best Mechanical Plant Award,” “2007 Hall Fame Award for Customer Service,” and “2008 Most Improved Mechanical Plant Award.”

Dr. Smith’s professional career started at Milliken & Company, where he was the recipient of the “2002 Manager of the Year Award” for the Floor Covering Division. In the same year, his department won the “2002 Team of the Year Award.”

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In 2012, Dr. Smith was named in the Atlanta Business League’s “2012 Men of Influence.” He was named one of the 40-Under-40 lists for the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2014.

Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world's busiest airport
Kofi Smith, the black CEO behind the world’s busiest airport

The following year, he was named one of the recipients for the Georgia Trend’s 40-under-40 and was also a graduate of the 2015 Class of Leadership Atlanta. He is also a graduate of the 2016 Regional Leadership Institute.

In 2018, he was the recipient of 100 Black Men of North Metro’s Image Award and the Atlanta Business League’s 2018 Trailblazer Award.

He has sat on a research panel in Washington, DC evaluating the airline and airport industries under the Airport Cooperative Research Program of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and National Academies.

He serves on the national board for the National Black Child Development Institute as the Board’s Second Vice-Chair; the Children’s Sports Network Corporate Board for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation and the board of directors for the City of Refuge.

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