Brett Smith ’88 - Aviation Entrepreneur

Who owns an airport? Who decides where an airport should be? Most people don't think about that question.  Dublin alumnus Brett Smith ’88, founder of Propeller Airports, a wholly owned subsidiary of Propeller Investments, has been working to privatize airports across the U.S. for the last ten years. 

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As explained on Propeller’s website, Propeller Airports takes a lesson from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, by utilizing private enterprise to subsidize government airports. Thus, creating a more efficient and profitable venture for both the public and private sectors. With offices in New York, Seattle and Atlanta, Propeller identifies untapped potential for commercial air travel by working with local governments and communities to maximize airport assets. The untapped potential that Brett is currently pursuing is in Metro Seattle, at Paine Field; originally built in 1936 and now home to Boeing’s widebody assembly plant.

Propeller is currently building a passenger terminal at Paine Field, in Everett Washington. With just about seven months to go before opening, the new terminal is already sold out. United, Alaska and Southwest Airlines, three of the largest and the most popular airlines in the country, have committed to serving the market, connecting Paine Field to over ten cities. Paine Field will not only provide added airport capacity to the fast-growing Pacific Northwest economy but will also deliver a completely different terminal experience for travelers. Brett is personally overseeing all design and service details considering every want and need of business travelers in particular. Valet parking, USB ports at every seat, healthy food options and an atmosphere that embodies the beauty of the region with lots of glass and wood to frame the landscape.

“I continue to rely upon the core values learned from the Dublin experience. Truth & Courage have not been forgotten and remain guiding principles as I work to give back to the community and make a difference to the world in which we live”.

“Brett has been working towards this goal for the ten years I have been Head of School. His is a story of determination and courage. I have rarely seen someone so unwilling to give in when facing incalculable odds. Many people have vision, but Brett has the perseverance and drive to match his inspiring vision. Somehow, I have a feeling that Paine Field is just a start for him. We are very proud to have Brett as an alumnus and trustee of Dublin School.”    says Head of School Brad Bates.

Brett lives between NYC and Seattle and is a member of the NY board of Human Rights Watch and a Dublin School Trustee. He is also a licensed private pilot and holds a BA in Political Science from Emory University.