Susan Baer announces her Departure from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

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ARTICLE: NYC airports chief to step down

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Airports are complex institutions. From the ground up, the science, engineering and design of an airfield demand the command of diverse disciplines. Laterally, this form of infrastructure is an attractive nuisance. Every community must have these economic engines to be connected to national and international commerce. But in the same dimension, neighbors abhor their very existence due to noise and other pollution.

For these reasons, the selection of a director to run an airport is vital to the facility’s success. It is tempting to name someone well connected to the politics of an organization. True professionals with all of the technical knowledge may not have the personality to deal with the airlines, neighbors, FAA and other stakeholders. Finding the requisite bundle of skills in a single candidate involves both art and science by the selectors.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey did it right when they chose Susan Baer. Having managed all three of the major airports, she obviously commanded all of the details of their operations. On a more macro level, she created and has led an effort to move the FAA’s innovative NextGen program.

Ms. Baer’s retirement will allow her to share her knowledge with more airports. We wish her well in her new career.

[Editor’s note: on 5/20 Kate Lang’s movement from a key position in FAA airports was the subject of a post. Today, we relate the transition of Susan Baer. These events make it clear that women play a major role in aviation and airports.]

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