Clayton official says retiring Hartsfield-Jackson GM did ‘incredible job’

Louis Miller

Louis Miller

ATLANTA — Clayton County leaders will have to get used to working with someone new at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport next year.

That’s because change is about to blow through the airport, which is run by city of Atlanta but is mostly in Clayton County.

Airport General Manager Louis Miller announced this week that he will retire from the position he’s held for more than three years Jan. 3. Atlanta officials said Deputy General Manager Miguel Southwell will serve as the interim general manager while Mayor Kasim Reed conducts a search for a new general manager.

Miller came to Hartsfield-Jackson in 2010 after a 14-year tenure as the executive director of Tampa International Airport. He held several positions in the Salt Lake City Department of Airports for two decades before that. Atlanta officials said Miller plans to return to Salt Lake City after he retires.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place than Hartsfield-Jackson to end my career,” said Miller in a statement. “After 37 years in the aviation industry, it’s been a pleasure to serve at the world’s busiest airport and to prepare Hartsfield-Jackson for a prosperous future.

“Mayor Reed has been a tremendous supporter of the Department of Aviation and we owe him a debt of gratitude for allowing us to work together to improve the customer experience,” Miller added.

During Miller’s tenure and general manager, Hartsfield-Jackson opened the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal which created new access to the airport from I-75 and Clayton County. He also oversaw expansion of air cargo at the airport as Hartsfield-Jackson pushed to become one of the largest cargo hubs in the world.

The airport also opened a cellphone waiting parking lot, expanded concessions operations and saw its CFC Bond and PFC Hybrid Bond ratings upgraded under Miller’s leadership.

“Louis has done an incredible job since he’s been there,” said Clayton County Economic Development Director Grant Wainscott.

Clayton County officials have long considered it the biggest economic engine in the county. Airport officials represent the transportation hub on several community boards in the county, such as the boards of directors for Arts Clayton and the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce.

Miller addressed the chamber about work going on at the airport over the summer. Chamber President Yulonda Beauford said Miller also addressed the group’s Leadership Clayton class Tuesday.

“We were the first group he presented to after making his announcement,” said Beauford.

Wainscott said it is important for the county to have close, strategic relationship with the airport and its officials.

“To have an open line of communication and to know that we’re partners in helping the world’s busiest airport succeed is something that Louis really embraced from Day 1,” said Wainscott. “We’ve enjoyed working with him and we’re certainly going to miss him.”