Business Leader Speaker Series: Mario Rodriguez, CEO Indianapolis International Airport


INDIANAPOLIS – Orr Fellowship’s Business Leader Speaker Series hosts CEO of Indiana Airport Authority, Mario Rodriguez, as featured October speaker.

Orr Fellowship’s monthly Business Leader Speaker Series is an integral part of the organization’s curriculum. The series aims to connect Orr’s young professionals with business leaders in the greater Indianapolis area. Past speakers have included: Allison Melangton (Senior Vice President of Hulman Motorsports at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), Ben Higgins (Founder of Generous Coffee Co. and Reality T.V. star), Mitch Daniels (former Indiana Governor and current Purdue University President), among many others.

Orr Fellowship’s Business Leader Speaker Series hosted award-winning aviation expert, Mario Rodriguez, CEO of Indiana International Airport on Tuesday, October 16th.

Prior representing the Indianapolis International Airport as CEO of Indiana Airport Authority, Rodriguez gained leadership experience at The Long Beach Airport as the Executive Director (CEO) and New Orleans Aviation Board as the Deputy Executive Director (COO), where he played an integral part in developing flood protection after the airports recovery from Hurricane Katrina. With a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Miami, Mario has spent his entire career within the aviation industry. He was appointed by the Obama Administration to the National Department of Transportation Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection and received the State of Indiana’s highest honor, the Sagamore of Wabash. Along with his impressive list of accomplishments, Mario also serves as the chairman of the statewide Indiana Latino Institute, is part of The Indianapolis and Indiana Chambers, and is a board member of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Visit Indy, The Sports Corps, and the 500 Festival Board of Directors.

Rodriguez spoke about the trials and tribulations he faced throughout his career to get to where he is today. While his career took many twists and turns, he doesn’t regret one bit of it. “What makes me, me is the sum of my experiences,” said Rodriguez.

Leadership was also a recurring theme in Rodriguez’s talk. “Leadership is an act, not a position,” stated Rodriguez, “[it’s] acting out of the scope of your authority.” On top of his career, Rodriguez stressed the importance of giving back to the community and that Indiana is the best place he’s lived. He moved with his family from Long Beach to Indianapolis and believes that the people in Indiana are the kindest and most genuine he’s ever met. The supportive spirit of the community has a clear impact on the success of the airport.

Rodriguez also commented on the future of aviation – the end of the “golden age” of travel in favor of air travel as a mean of transportation for millennials. It is this shift we have to thank for the cheap flights on airlines such as Allegiant, Spirit, and jetBlue. These airlines get passengers from point A to point B, and that is what this generation is demanding according to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez could not stress enough how important a sense of community is to running the airport. For Mario, Indianapolis not only became a great place to raise a family, but to live his passion for serving others and fostering the community that is the Indianapolis International Airport.