Former State Aviation Official Heads Glendale, Arizona Airport

The city of Glendale has announced that Matthew Smith has been selected as Glendale’s Airport Administrator. Smith has worked in the aeronautics field for over 20 years. He joins the city of Glendale after serving as the Airport Manager at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN) in Tusayan, Arizona. GCN is owned and operated by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Matthew Smith

As the Airport Administrator, Smith oversees the day-to-day tasks of the airport and has direct oversight of the operating budget and capital improvement program. He will prepare both short and long-term plans for the airport and the open acreage on the east side of the airport. Smith will work closely with current airport tenants and prospective developers.

“We are excited to bring Matt on board during what will be a very pivotal time over the next five to ten years for the city’s airport,” said Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps. “His qualifications and experience are an excellent fit for the city as we get ready to aggressively pursue expansion and development of our airport and the surrounding area.”

Smith spent the last four years as the Airport Manager at Grand Canyon National Park Airport where he oversaw their five-year capital improvement program, negotiated leases with various tenants and raised money for the airport with $6 million in FAA funding and $7 million in COVID relief grants. Before that, he worked in various capacities with ADOT’s Aeronautics Division, the Yuma County Airport Authority, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), America West Airlines and Williams-Gateway Airport.

“Matthew was the ideal candidate who rose to the top of our list because of his vast experience,” said Transportation Director Shahid Abbas. “This includes managerial experience, grant management expertise, an understanding of FAA rules and regulations and extensive experience working on capital improvement projects.”

Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Hobart College and a Master of Science degree in Aviation Management from Arizona State University. He also received a doctorate degree in Coast Guard Studies from Korea Maritime and Ocean University, along with certificates in Construction Finance Management and Construction Project Management from Columbia University Engineering.

“Glendale is growing, and I am excited to lead the effort of planning how our airport will grow as well,” said Smith. “I am pleased to join a city with a strong strategic plan for growth and an incredible team focused on mapping out the future of the airport.”

Smith began his new role with the city of Glendale on Monday, October 31, 2022.