Huntsville, AL (April 05,2019) – Richard A. “Rick” Tucker, executive director of the Huntsville/Madison County Airport Authority/ Huntsville International Airport, was named the 2019 Airport Professional of the Year by the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives at the SEC-AAAE Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The award, in its 23rd year, is presented to an outstanding airport professional and is based on the nominee’s professionalism, knowledge and integrity dealing with airport issues and the community. The Southeast Chapter has over 600 members and is the largest chapter of AAAE. It includes airports across twelve states as well as the Virgin Island and the District of Columbia. Tucker was selected for this award on the heels of his 40th anniversary in the airport industry and Huntsville International Airport’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
As executive director, he directs the administration, operations and development of the Port of Huntsville which includes Huntsville International Airport, the International Intermodal Center (air & rail cargo, the Jetplex Industrial Park and other entities. During his time at the Port of Huntsville he has been active both locally and in the state of Alabama, having served in the Board of Directors for the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce and as the President of both the Aviation Council of Alabama Board of Directors and the North Alabama International Trade Association. He also serve the Alabama Commission on Infrastructure and the Business Advisory Council for the College of Administration Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was reappointed by the Secretary of Transportation to the Airport Cooperative Research Program Oversight Committee and was appointed by the state of Alabama as Alabama’s representative to serve on the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Network Appalachia Study Group. In addition, to all of this Mr. Tucker has served the aviation industry by serving on the Board of Directors of the Airport Council International (ACI-NA) and the International Air Cargo Association.
Since Mr. Tucker was named Executive Director in 1994, the Port of Huntsville has enhanced its services and facilities in many ways. At Huntsville International Airport, he has overseen the extension of the west runway to 12,600 feet; construction of a new 219-foot air traffic control tower; construction of a nearly 3,000 space parking deck; completion of $93 million, 5-year terminal area capital improvement project; the addition of new non-stop passenger service to ten top travel destinations and the growth in the last year of passenger traffic by 11.4 %. Under the direction of Mr. Tucker, the Port of Huntsville’s capital investment reached $264.14 million to include construction of a 100,000 square-foot facility for Panalpina. That facility includes 16,250 square-feet of cold storage; an 18,000 square-foot perishable facility and a 35,000 square-foot Global Logistics Center. He has overseen the growth of Panalpina’s 747-8 air cargo service and the expansion of international air cargo flights to Europe, Mexico, Hong Kong, Columbia and Brazil, resulting in growth that ranks the Port of Huntsville as the current 18th largest airport in the continental U.S. for international air cargo. He has guided the development of the Jetplex Industrial Park to successfully recruit outstanding businesses such as Boeing, LG, Navistar and Remington, as well as adding more than 30 additional new tenants. To date the Port of Huntsville complex encompasses over 8,000 acres.
“Rick Tucker exemplifies every characteristic of the Airport Professional of the Year. We could see in the nomination that he is both respected and admired by his employees. Words like “visionary leadership”, “strategic and creative thinker” and “hands on approach” alongside his numerous professional merits left no question for our panel that he was the right selection for this distinguished award”, said John Carrigan, SEC-AAAE Corporate Committee Award Panelist
Pictured with Mr. Tucker is George Davis of Signature Flight Support (right) who was recognized as the SEC-AAAE Corporate Member of the Year for his work with non-profit organization FlyQuest on the Mobile Aviation classroom.
About The Port of Huntsville: Known officially as the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority, the Port of Huntsville incorporates Huntsville International Airport (HSV), International Intermodal Center and Jetplex Industrial Park. It is an inland port facility and has the only scheduled international cargo flights in the state, with roundtrip cargo flights to Europe and Mexico, inbound flights from China and outbound flights to Brazil. HSV ranks 18th among continental U.S. airports in international air cargo volume. The International Intermodal Center ships and receives ocean containers, by rail, to and from both East and West Coast seaports.