AzAA Names Recipients of 2021 Awards of Excellence

The Arizona Airports Association (AzAA) awarded its Airport Executive of the Year, Corporate Member of the Year, and announced the President’s Award at its Spring General Membership Meeting. Corinne Nystrom received the 2021 Airport Executive of the Year Award, Mark Koester received the 2021 Corporate Member of the Year Award, and Mike Smejkal received the President’s Award.  Each honoree has made lasting positive impacts on airports in Arizona, and AzAA recognizes their outstanding contributions.

Corinne Nystrom

Corinne Nystrom, A.A.E., who is currently serving as Airport Director of Mesa-Falcon Field Airport, was awarded Airport Executive of the Year. Ms. Nystrom has over 34 years of experience in aviation management, serving as both Finance and Human Resources Managers, as well as the Airport Director of two different airports. She is known for a tactful and effective style of communication and is admired for her ability to separate emotions and provide facts when approaching tough issues. Ms. Nystrom has served on the Regional Board of Directors for the American Association of Airport Executives and two different State Aviation Association Board of Directors including serving as the President of AzAA. Ms. Nystrom has used her skills and knowledge to present before the state legislature to voice the concerns of Arizona’s Airports, has provided input when the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airports District Office Phoenix office was opened, and continuously assists colleagues with problems they may be encountering. Finally, she is an active participant in her local community, hosting airport open houses for the general public and participating in the Aerospace Academy mentoring program with the Mesa Public School District.

Mark Koester

Mark Koester was named 2021 Corporate Member of the Year.  Mr. Koester is the Managing Principal of Airport Infrastructure at Stantec. In his three decades working in airports and aviation, Mark has partnered with more than 30 airport facilities in the United States and internationally. He specializes in managing the design of runways, taxiways, and aprons; rural highways and urban arterial streets; stormwater hydrology and hydraulic systems; and utilities. He brings a full knowledge of FAA regulations, programs, policies, and requirements to successfully complete projects in Air Operations Areas. Mark recently served as project principal for the Terminal Apron Expansion at Tucson International Airport. Mark was nominated, and ultimately awarded, Corporate Member of the Year award for his sustained commitment to the aviation industry throughout his 30-year career.

Mike Smejkal

Mike Smejkal, PE, A.A.E., received the President’s Award and is the Vice President of Planning & Engineering for Tucson Airport Authority (TAA). Mr. Smejkal leads a team that completes TAA’s planning, environmental, design and construction projects for Tucson International Airport and Ryan Field. Mike previously served as the Sr. Director of Development Services and Director of Engineering for the TAA. Prior to joining the Airport, Mike was a Project Manager and Engineer for a Midwest based consulting engineering firm. He completed design and construction projects at airports ranging in size from Large Hubs to small General Aviation facilities. Mike is an Accredited Airport Executive and a licensed Professional Engineer. He has a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois.  In May 2021, Mike completed six years of exemplary service to AzAA as a Board member and the organization’s President.