By Katherine Preston
Happy Thursday everyone! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to all of the ACI-NA members, especially those who sit on the Environmental Affairs Committee. I have returned for my second week on the job as the Director of Environmental Affairs, after (thankfully) having survived the first week! All kidding aside, everyone at ACI-NA as well as the members I have communicated with have been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I look forward to meeting many of you in person at the upcoming Environmental Affairs Conference this June in Cincinnati (if you haven’t already registered, what are you waiting for?). I also greatly anticipate diving in where my predecessor, Jessica Steinhilber, left off. As you know, there are many varied environmental issues that our airport members face, and we will no doubt be busy keeping up with all the activity.
I joined ACI-NA after spending about 3.5 years as a policy analyst with The Boeing Co.’s government operations office. In that capacity I focused on federal regulatory and legislative environmental issues, including climate change, biofuels, chemical policy, the Clean Air Act, as well as international trade and other commercial aviation policy issues. I gained a lot of valuable experience working at Boeing and have a strong understanding of many aviation environmental issues from a manufacturer’s perspective.
Prior to working at Boeing, I was fortunate enough to start my career in the aviation industry with the International Air Transport Association. At the time, IATA had just opened their Washington office and I was one of three people working there. There are many benefits to working in a small office, the largest of which is the chance to do many different things because there is no one else to do them! I was able to work on a number of policy issues affecting IATA’s airline members, both domestic and international. In my role as congressional liaison I managed legislative affairs on issues of concern to the commercial aviation industry, and had the opportunity to work with International Civil Aviation Organization and Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection. It was during this time that I became aware of the challenging environmental issues the industry faces, and decided that this was the area in which I wanted to focus my career.
I am currently pursuing my M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy at the Johns Hopkins University, and am on track to complete the degree next spring. So far the program has been a challenging yet wonderful educational experience, and an even better networking opportunity. Many of my classmates are federal employees hailing from many different agencies, including EPA, FAA, Congress, DOT, DOD, as well as consultants to all of the above. For my undergraduate work, I received my B.A. in Political Science/International Affairs at the University of Florida (Go Gators!).
Before I came to D.C., I worked with the Florida House of Representatives, a small government affairs firm in Tallahassee, and completed a public diplomacy internship with the U.S. State Department in Leipzig, Germany.
I currently reside with my husband and two dogs in Columbia Heights area of Washington, D.C.