Board to conduct national search for successor

Elaine Roberts
Elaine Roberts

COLUMBUS – Columbus Regional Airport Authority President & CEO Elaine Roberts, a recognized leader in the aviation industry, today announced her intention to retire by the end of 2017.
The airport authority oversees the operation of passenger-focused John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), cargo-focused Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK), and general aviation airport Bolton Field (TZR). The three airports and select businesses with direct ties to the airports account for more than 54,000 jobs, $1.8 billion in annual payroll and $6.6 billion in total annual economic output.

“Serving the Columbus community and the dedicated airport team for nearly 17 years has been a tremendous privilege,” said Roberts. “Together we have collaborated and innovated to find even more new and exciting ways to connect Ohio with the world.”

Roberts became the first President & CEO of CRAA when it was created Jan. 1, 2003. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the Columbus Airport Authority, CRAA’s predecessor, beginning in December of 2000. In total, Roberts has nearly 35 years of airport management experience.

“Today we find ourselves in a robust financial position with a beautiful passenger facility bearing a compelling new name, a burgeoning intermodal transportation hub and a proud record of community service,” said Susan Tomasky, Board Chair. “Thanks to Elaine’s skilled stewardship there’s a strong expectation of sustained growth and increasing contributions to the economic wellbeing of the Columbus Region.”

Under Roberts’ leadership, CRAA has invested more than $1 billion in airport infrastructure development and improvements, ranging from the modernization of John Glenn International to building a new control tower at Rickenbacker International Airport. Roberts successfully guided the organization through the darkest time in aviation’s history, Sept. 11, 2001 and the ensuing destabilizing of the airline industry. Along with many other comprehensive initiatives, she oversaw the merging of two airport authorities, resulting in greater efficiencies and a strategic approach to air service development for the region.

“When you’re surrounded and supported by 400 passionate team members who literally work around the clock, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished for the benefit of the Columbus community,” said Roberts. “While I look forward to retirement in South Carolina with my wife Dale, I’ll miss working with the most talented and passionate airport team in the nation.”

An Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) and a respected leader in the aviation industry, Roberts currently serves on the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Policy Review Committee to the Board of Directors and board member for International Association of Airport Executives. She’s also a former past chair of AAAE.

Locally she serves on the boards of the Columbus Partnership, Experience Columbus, State Auto Financial Corporation, Columbus Region Logistics Council and Otterbein Women’s Leadership Network Advisory Council. The YWCA presented Roberts with the 2017 Women of Achievement Award while the Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) recently bestowed upon her The Riveter Award.

Prior to arriving in Columbus, Roberts served for six years as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation which operates T. F. Green (Providence) Airport and five other state-owned airports. Roberts began her airport management career with the Indianapolis Airport Authority in 1983 where she served for 12 years.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Sociology from Western Kentucky University, a Master’s Degree in Community Development & Urban Planning from the University of Louisville, and a law degree from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.

The Columbus Regional Airport Authority’s nine-member Board of Directors will conduct a national search for Roberts’ successor.