Houston Mayor John Whitmire has chosen Jim Szczesniak as the Houston Airport System’s (HAS) interim director. With more than two decades of management experience in both the public and private sector, Szczesniak will be responsible for all aspects of HAS operations. This includes executing strategic initiatives, maximizing commercial potential and maintaining operational excellence throughout the organization.
Szczesniak will serve as interim director until the City Council confirms him as permanent director. He replaces Mario Diaz, who retired after 14 years of leading HAS.
Szczesniak joined HAS in 2022 as chief operating officer (COO). Prior to HAS, Szczesniak was the airport director for the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), the fourth busiest air cargo airport and gateway to Alaska.
His career began at O’Hare International airport, where he later became director of Airport Planning and then deputy commissioner of Aviation for both O’Hare and Midway International Airport. He also spent a decade working at the Chicago Department of Aviation.
Szczesniak graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor’s in Aviation Management and received an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is also an accredited airport executive by the American Association of Airport Executives.
As part of his announcement, Szczesniak said he is “ready to propel our airports to new heights and realize Mayor Whitmire’s priorities for Houston.” Szczesniak will work closely with Whitmire’s administration and City Controller Chris Hollins to manage both new and ongoing projects.