Director of Port Control

Ricky D. Smith, Director of Port Control, joined the Jackson Administration in June 2006. As Director he manages the operations of the Department of Port Control, which includes Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Burke Lakefront Airport, and the City’s lakefront properties. Since joining the Jackson Administration, Smith led the Department through a cultural transformation by establishing a performance-based focused, redirecting emphasis on quality customer services, implementing operational improvements, instilling fiscal prudency, and establishing a competent management team. This transformation is compelled by an organizational vision to be ‘the best performing organization in the industry.’

Under Smith’s direction the Department of Port Control has:

  • Redeveloped the food, beverage & retail program at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to a nationally-recognized program that doubled shopping options, enhanced customer service quality, and expanded local and minority participation.
  • Prepared and launched Master Plan updates for Cleveland Hopkins International and Burke Lakefront Airports. Both plans establish the strategic direction for the respective airports over the next 20 years.
  • Coordinated the Cleveland Lakefront Development Plan update, which establishes three development districts on the downtown lakefront to build on the foundation established by the 9th Street Pier, Voinovich Park, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Great Lakes Museum.
  • Launched a comprehensive marketing and public relations campaign designed to position Cleveland Hopkins International and Burke Lakefront Airports as the premier air service gateways in Northeast Ohio and to expand the goodwill of each institution. This series of campaigns have been recognized by Airport Council International – North American and the Ohio Travel Association as some of the most innovative and effective campaigns in the industry and state, respectively.
  • Established a performance-based culture that has resulted in improved employee morale, enhanced stakeholder perception of the Airport System, and improved customer satisfaction.

Smith came to Cleveland from the Maryland Aviation Administration's (MAA) Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Martin State Airport (MTN).  He served more than 14 years at MAA, beginning as a Director in the Budget Division in 1990 and ending as Chief Operating Officer in 2006. Throughout his tenure he managed business administration, airport operations, planning and engineering, marketing, and air service development.

He is active with numerous industry associations including the American Association of Airport Executives, where he serves as a board member; Airport Minority Advisory Council; and the Airport Council International – North America. He recently joined the board of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Smith has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Howard University and an Executive Master in Business Administration degree from the Loyola University in Maryland. He has completed several leadership development programs including the University of Maryland Government Executive Institute, Leadership Cleveland, the Covey Institute for Principle Centered Leadership, and Leadership Baltimore. In 2010 and 2011, he was named ‘Executive of the Year’ by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and received the ‘Visionary Leader’ award from the Society of Urban Professionals, respectively.