Charlotte, NC

The First Female Aviation Director was Elected at CLT Airport

The Hornet's Nest

CHARLOTTE, NC - Helen Gentry became the first female Aviation Director in CLT Airport after dedicating herself for 30 years to the aviation industry. She officially took the role in June, replacing Brent Cagle who is now acting as the Assistant City Manager for Charlotte. It is a great achievement for women to thrive in an industry dominated by men.

Acting as Aviation Director, Gentry is in charge of an airport that produced $24.6 billion in economic impact annually with more than seven hundred employees, a $187 million budget for 2022, and a 1.8 million-square-foot terminal with some 100,000 daily passengers.

Gentry started to work as an intern in the Aviation Department immediately after graduating from Appalachian State University in 1991. Her intern experience had a big impact on her and she decided to put away her plans to pursue a career in cybersecurity and stayed in the aviation industry. She took every chance she could get to learn and learn some more about the industry. Over the years, She had led the airline lease negotiations, launched CLT’s first website, formed the Innovation & Experience team, and had various other achievements.

Gentry said that being a woman had caused her to be treated differently in some instances, but the people she has been working with on a daily basis had been very supportive of her. Now she is paving the way for other women to achieve what she has. She formed a local chapter of Women in Aviation at CLT two years ago.

Her current focus is to keep providing a safe terminal that will make passengers feel comfortable, creating post-COVID plans for the airport, completing CLT’s capital improvement program Destination CLT, making other non-aeronautical development, and building on CLT’s brand. She hopes to leave CLT Airport a little better than she found it.

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