How do you get from the College Park to Bermuda? Take a plane, of
course. And when you do, you’ll be landing at the Bermuda International
Airport, run by Jim Howes ’67, MBA ’69.
has been the top executive at the tiny island nation’s one and only airport
since 2001, when he was recruited by the government of Bermuda to direct the
country’s air service development.
“Being an island, they’re very dependent on air transportation, and the
government was interested in expanding airline service to new destinations.
Bermuda is a very nice place to live, so I couldn’t turn them down,” says
Howes, a Towson, Md., native.
Howes has a long career in aviation management. As an undergraduate at
the University of Maryland, Howes studied transportation and was a cadet in
the university’s Air Force ROTC program. After receiving his MBA in 1969, he
went on to serve as a captain in the United States Air Force for three
years, and then pursued management positions at various airports. He has
worked as a manager at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) as
well as airports in New York and Florida.
Being an airport’s general manager involves overseeing operations such as
flight safety and security, engineering, facilities development and
finances. But it also involves developing good relations with the travel
industry. And for Howes, marketing the appeal of the airport and the country
of Bermuda is also a vital part of his work.
IF IT’S TUESDAY, IT MUST BE MILAN…
Howes’ work takes him around the world to market Bermuda and entice
airlines to open up routes to the island. It is not unusual for him to have
a work-week that involves several countries and continents. Recently he
spent Monday in London, England meeting with British Airways;
traveled to Milan, Italy on Tuesday convincing tour guides operator firms
and an Italian airline to plan direct flights from Milan to Bermuda; went to
Toronto, Canada on Wednesday to hold meetings about expanding air service to
Bermuda; and wound up the week with meetings in Baltimore, Md.
Like many current Smith students, Howes stays connected with his
ever-present BlackBerry wireless device. “It’s an addiction, I think,” Howes
admits ruefully. “Recently I was in Milan. We had just finished a day of
meetings and as I was standing in line to see Da Vinci’s masterpiece “The
Last Supper” I was sending and receiving emails from Bermuda and the
well as taking him to interesting places, the aviation industry has placed
Howes in interesting situations over the years. “No two days are alike in
the airport business,” says Howes. “And it’s always interesting when the
president of the United States lands in your airport and Air Force One parks
outside your office window.”
Howes has met all the presidents in recent years, as well as many heads
of state. He remembers Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great
Britain, as a particularly charismatic politician, leaving her limousine
parked on the tarmac to go and greet well-wishers at the fence on the
runway. He once flew the mayor of Leningrad from Tampa to Miami in his own
private plane when the man found himself stranded in Tampa due to schedule
complications. When Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, was running
for president in 1980, Howes met him at the airport and said “Governor
Reagan, I sure hope when you get to Washington, D.C., you’ll straighten out
that mess with the FAA.” The future president responded with a broad grin,
“We’ll straighten out a lot of things in Washington.”
Over the years, Howes has kept connected to his Smith School professors,
finding them to be invaluable contacts in the professional world. “I knew
Dean (Rudy) Lamone quite well. When I was an undergrad, he taught some of my
classes. We stayed in touch over the years. Another of my professors at
Maryland, Stanley Hille, was an outstanding professor of transportation. He
really developed my understanding of and love for the field,” says Howes.
“I’ve stayed in touch with him over the years. I’ve been fortunate to have
professors that made an impression on me and helped me develop in my
Howes feels that the unique opportunities he had as a student have helped
drive his career. As an undergraduate, he served as an intern on Capitol
Hill for Senator Joseph Tydings (D-MD) for two years, an opportunity made
possible by the university’s proximity to and connection with Washington,
D.C. Tydings, who was also a Terp, made a point of working with Maryland
undergrads when possible. Howes appreciates the school’s strong connections
with such influential alumni.
“My education prepared me for my career very well, with classes in
marketing and speech as well as transportation. Over the years I’ve realized
more and more how much I owe to having a quality university education, for
which I will always be grateful to the University of Maryland,” says Howes.