Eight years ago Steven Baldwin felt it was time in his career to focus on what he exceled at—the expertise that essentially comprises the core services his firm offers today—working with airport management and their board of directors at the policy level. Other factors contributing to his decision to form his own company were the result of 9/11 and the onset of the recession.
“Going out on your own is not for the faint at heart,” said Baldwin, who established Steven Baldwin Associates, LLC in 2011. “I’m happy with how the firm has developed and I’ve never looked back.” His biggest surprise, however, was the encouragement he received from friends and colleagues in the industry. “I remember a dear friend, who works for FedEx, reminding me that Rome wasn’t built in a day,” said Baldwin. “That alone encouraged me to forge ahead, and I’m grateful for him reminding me of that.”
The firm, Steven Baldwin Associates, offers management consulting for airports and airport operators and focuses on strategic planning, organizational and program assessments, revenue optimization, governance review and transfer, performance benchmarking, and executive recruiting. Steve has assembled a team of top professionals with expertise in a variety of areas that complements his own experience and expertise gained over 35 years in the industry.
Baldwin first became interested in aviation as a result of his father. “My father served in the Army Air Corps in Europe,” said Baldwin. “His command was responsible for operating a small airstrip between Berchtesgaden, Germany and Salzburg, Austria during WWII.” Baldwin said his father had a storied life, but in particular loved aviation and eventually became a pilot and later in life an aircraft owner.
“Bottom line… people will always want to fly…”
Baldwin, an active commercial instrument rated multi-engine pilot himself, said 2019 is continuing to shape up as a banner year for the firm. “As a community and an industry, we are doing a lot of great things in aviation.” Baldwin noted that airlines and airports alike are investing in the aviation system. “The bottom line is people will always want to fly and now is a great time to be involved.”
In terms of specifics, Baldwin said the firm continues to lead in offering new products that their clients are interested in, and most recently are proud of their growing market in assessing governance models, analyzing organizational efficiency and effectiveness, strategizing revenue optimization, and conducting executive recruitment. “Our goals are simple: continue to be best, provide the highest level of customer service possible, invest in our staff, and have fun!”
Baldwin has spent more than 30 years in the aviation industry, previously serving as a Senior Vice President of an international consulting firm, responsible for building and growing its domestic aviation practice. In building his own company, Baldwin has gathered top aviation professionals and experts who have dedicated their entire careers to aviation and the management of airports, to serve SBA clients with expertise in a range of areas including: business management, legal and legislative analysis, concessions, FBOs, governance transfers, technology, and human resources.
“Surrounding yourself with talented, dedicated people is typically the surest way to success…”
Baldwin highlighted the contributions and value of his team, stating, “The team we’ve built, their individual and collective expertise in the industry, and the caliber of their contributions are really what make the firm a success. Surrounding yourself with talented, dedicated people is typically the surest way to success, and I’m happy that that is the case here as well.”
Baldwin is also familiar with state aviation having served at the New York State DOT Aviation Division for 14 years. There, he had responsibility for the day-to-day operations of Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY and Republic Airport on Long Island. Both airports had governor-appointed policy advisory commissions with which Baldwin worked closely. Baldwin also directed New York’s planning and environmental programs for the State-owned and-operated airports.
In addition, he provided staff services to two governor-appointed commissions. He served as the Governor’s congressional liaison on matters concerning flight noise, and later served two years in the NYS Governor’s office as Assistant Deputy Director and senior advisor assigned to the Office of Regulatory Reform, where he led five separate and diverse policy teams. Through his experience in government and hands-on executive management, Baldwin has developed a keen understanding of public policy analysis and decision-making which provide a well-rounded perspective on the industry for client assignments.
Baldwin believes SBA is a unique airport management consulting firm, made up of top industry professionals. “SBA’s principals and senior-level professionals are recognized throughout the industry as some of the foremost leaders in the airport management field,” said Baldwin. “We strive to use that high level of expertise to provide our clients with the finest service and industry knowledge available.”
Baldwin also spoke highly about the firm’s clients. “We’ve been very lucky to work with some of the best people in the business as clients. We approach our tasks not as an isolated assignment, but as building a partnership and a long-term business relationship, supporting the client’s goals.” A roster of recent clients is included in one of SBA’s recent newsletters, available here.
Ted Kitchens, A.A.E., the Airport Director of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire and one of SBA’s long-term clients had this to say; “We have worked with Steve and the team at SBA on a number of critical Airport projects. Most recently, Steve and his team led a national search effort which resulted in the hiring of a new Assistant Director for Properties and Contracts. SBA has also been called upon to assist with various special projects. Steve and his team have always provided high quality deliverables and professional services. The partnership has also allowed us to meet strategic and budgetary goals while working to achieve long-term Airport objectives.”
Another long-term client also offered a review of their experience with SBA. Brian Ryks, the President/CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airports and a system of 7 reliever airports, had this to say: “I’ve worked with Steve and his team during my tenure as the CEO of two different airports and I have always found their work ethic impressive and the quality of their assignments and analyses outstanding. Steve is a long-time industry leader and he has built a firm that provides excellent strategic management advisement and consulting. Most recently, they’ve helped us with a structural reorganization and a department review—all work which has strengthened our organization and our system of airports.”