Kimberly Wade, Hartsfield-Jackson's airside operations manager

By Maria Jose Subiria


In the world of aviation, rules and regulations are ubiquitous.

For Kimberly Wade, Accredited Airport Executive Manager for the Airport Operations Division at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, complying with them is part of the job.

Wade manages the day-to-day operations of the airfield and makes certain that Hartsfield-Jackson's airside runs safely, and efficiently.

"We have federal, state and local obligations that we abide by," she said.

According to Wade, her duties include writing documents that relate to the airfield such as technical reviews, operational reviews and an airport manual that contains information sent to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"It could be something as simple as getting a new fire truck," Wade said. "We need to include that in the manual.

"Our whole operation is our Airport Certification Manual, and it includes our airport emergency [plan]. We write that in the manual and everything we are responsible for," she said.

She is currently planning an airport disaster drill, which trains and prepares Hartsfield-Jackson employees, fire and police personnel, and airline and American Red Cross workers, how to react during an emergency situation at the airport.

"I am planning, coordinating and directing exercises," said Wade. "I come up with situations, like a plane crash, because we have to be ready for the worst-case scenario."

Wade, who has been with Hartsfield-Jackson for 20 years, said she is also responsible for other training plans, such as one on Airfield Area Movement, which focuses on employees whose jobs require them to work on the airfield.

"I also ensure that all our airfield construction is coordinated to meet FAA regulations, and minimize operation disruptions, so that we are not causing delays to passengers because we are doing construction," said Wade.

An Atlanta native, Wade was a teenager when she and her parents moved to Alabama in the late 1970s. She attended Shades Valley High School in Homewood, Ala., just outside of Birmingham. She continued her education at Auburn University, and worked at the Auburn-Opelika Robert G. Pitts Airport, which is owned and operated by the university.

"I worked at the Auburn airport from 1988 to 1989 and worked at the front desk, and did customer service," said Wade.

She also interned at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport during college.

"I did a little bit of everything," she said. "I worked with the finance, operations, responded to emergencies, and I had to work with the planning department. There were only two of us [interns]."

She graduated in March of 1989 with a bachelor's degree in aviation management, and received a master's degree in business administration from the University of West Georgia in August of 1994.

Wade's aviation career landed her at Hartsfield-Jackson as an airport operations specialist. As her skills and expertise grew, she became a senior supervisor.

"For the last 11 years, I've been an airside operations manager," said Wade.

Wade said she has always been fascinated with aviation, and aspires to an even more challenging position in the future.