AIAA/AAAE/ACC Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award

The AIAA/AAAE/ACC Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award was established in 1983 by R. Dixon Speas and Ms. Speas in honor of their son, Jay. Jay was vitally interested in improving environmental relationships between the airports, both civil and military, and the communities they served. He accomplished a substantial number of professional assignments that contributed to these improvements.

The award is co-sponsored by AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), AAAE (American Association of Airport Executives), and the Airport Consultants Council (ACC). It is presented annually during the ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium to the person or persons judged to have contributed most significantly in recent years to the enhancement of relationships between airports and/or heliports and other surrounding environments via exemplary innovation that might be replicated elsewhere.

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2018 Recipients: 

   Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority
   Representatives:  Casey Reis, P. E., Director, Engineering and Facilities
                                   Roy Hawkins, Planning Engineer, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Award Citation:
For an innovative and sustainable stormwater and deicing treatment system that provides an example to other airports in meeting operational, regulatory and community needs.

Project: Stormwater / Glycol Treatment System Development
This prestigious award is for Gerald R. Ford International Airport's (GFIA' s) leadership in developing an innovative and sustainable stormwater and deicing treatment system that significantly improved the GFIA's relationships with its surrounding natural environment, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and the communities around Grand Rapids.

The project was prompted by the growth of attached "biofilm" in an unnamed tributary, locally known as "Trout Creek." The creek received airport stormwater containing residual amounts of aircraft deicers, which serve as a food for biofilm. The flourishing biofilm presented both an aesthetic nuisance and a detriment to stream ecology. The situation undermined GFIA's relationships with its neighbors, community watershed groups, and the MDEQ, and was the subject of aggressive media coverage. In 2010, MDEQ modified the GFIA's NPDES  permit to require that that airport eliminate its contribution to the nuisance growth of biofilm by October 2015. GFIA's $20 million Stormwater/Glycol Treatment System went online in September 2015 and since that time there has been no nuisance biofilm in Trout Creek.

The project has been acknowledged locally and nationally for its Innovation and success in addressing the technical, regulatory, and societal challenges it faced in 2010. These Include accolades from MDEQ, numerous technical presentations at ACI-NA and AAAE environmental and deicing conferences, articles in aviation journals and the local media, and several national awards. Examples are detailed in the attached supporting documentation.

The airport's project team of scientific, engineering, regulatory, and communications experts worked in close collaboration to envision and achieve a solution that not just meets, but also exceeds the needs of the environment and stakeholder communities.