Antiguan-born Miguel Southwell has been awarded the prestigious Herman J. Russell CEO of the Year Award in Atlanta, Georgia, for his stint as chief executive officer at the city’s international airport.
Southwell was able to achieve this remarkable feat despite being fired from the post last year by the current Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed. The matter between Mayor Reed and Southwell was eventually settled out of court.
However, Southwell was highly commended by the Atlanta community and the aviation industry for his management of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the United States. Former Mayor and Civil Rights leader, Andrew Young, describes the airport as the ‘biggest financial institution in the southeast United States’.
The Citation reads: “This award recognizes the true measure of a CEO: someone successful, committed and fair who can also maximize shareholders profits”.
Southwell was in the process of establishment twin-sister arrangements between VC Bird International and Hartsfield-Jackson airports when his untimely departure brought those plans to an end.
Since leaving the post of CEO at Hartsfield-Jackson, Southwell has established his own aviation consultancy firm and he continues to live and operate in the Atlanta community. He is a much sought-after aviation executive with numerous offers coming from competing airports in the United States.
Southwell is a former student of the Antigua Grammar School and a spokesman for the ‘Old Boys’ Association, Grammarians, Don Charles said Southwell’s achievement demonstrates just how much one can achieve even after what would normally be seen as a negative situation. “If one conducts himself (herself) in a particular way; with dignity, pride and a sense of purpose then the sky is literally the limit!” he exclaimed.
He noted that because of an outstanding track record the Atlanta community came to Southwell’s defense in a forceful manner during the episode with the mayor and that this could only be achieved because he remained focused. He likened Southwell’s achievements in the U.S aviation industry to Sir Vivian Richard’s achievements in the field of cricket.
Southwell is President and CEO of Brakkam Aviation Management based in Atlanta Georgia. Charles is a member of the AGS Grammarians Board of Trustees.