Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis makes a point of saying in interviews and speeches that Pittsburgh International Airport is “changing the industry to make air travel more accessible for all.”
And now the industry is taking notice. On Nov. 10, Cassotis was named one of two Gold Stevie winners in the Woman of the Year, Industry category.
Cassotis was specifically acknowledged for the airport’s innovations in sustainability, aviation, infrastructure and workforce.
“We’re introducing initiatives to provide equal access to opportunity in the workplace and we’re building a new terminal to meet the needs of our dynamic region,” Cassotis said. “I am honored that the Stevie Awards has recognized the airport’s progress.”
For this year’s awards, the organization considered more than 1,500 women from 26 nations. More than 200 professionals from around the world judged the finalists, winnowing them down to eight finalists. Cassotis was one of two winners selected for the gold award, the organization’s highest honor. The Stevie Award – named for the Greek word “Stephen,” or “crowned” – for Women in Business was created in 2002 to honor achievements of organizations and professionals in more than 60 nations.
PIT has made changes to develop a strong, diverse workforce, opening doors and breaking down barriers to careers in the aviation industry.
The airport this year launched PIT2Work, a five-week fast track to starting careers in the trades. Two classes have successfully graduated from the program, and most who sought employment already landed jobs. PIT also became one of the first airports in the world to open an on-site childcare center for employees, allowing more working parents to join the workforce.
The airport also is working to become more sustainable by operating the world’s first microgrid to power a major airport through on-site natural gas and almost 10,000 solar panels, and is working toward developing sustainable aviation fuel onsite. Through its partnership with xBridge, the airport also has introduced groundbreaking technology like BioFlyte, an added security layer, and Ecotone Renewables, an organization providing a sustainable option for food waste.
Strong industry leadership
Cassotis wasn’t the only ACAA leader to be recognized this year. Lisa Naylor, ACAA executive vice president and Chief Human Capital Officer, was among regional business leaders recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Naylor played a key role in opening PIT’s on-site childcare center and kickstarting PIT2Work.
“I believe work at the airport should be as inclusive as possible,” Naylor said. “Developing initiatives like the childcare center and PIT2Work has been a valuable part of my career at the airport. I am honored to receive this award.”
Earlier this month, PIT was awarded first place for its Public Relations Program at ACI’s Excellence in Airport Marketing Communications and Customer Experience Awards. ACAA was recognized for promotional efforts around PIT2Work. The airport was also a finalist for Video/Film productions for the For Pittsburgh, By Pittsburgh video series, which tells the stories of the men and women building the new terminal.
The Pittsburgh Technology Council named PIT a finalist in the Tech 50 Awards. This achievement honors technology and innovation in the Pittsburgh region. PIT was a finalist in the Consumer/Integrative Tech category, highlighting the airport’s efforts in sustainability, technology, innovation and workforce development and job creation.