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DEN Leadership Team Announcement: CEO Washington Announces Vision 100


DENVER – Sept. 17, 2021 – Denver International Airport (DEN) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Phillip Washington has announced the airport’s executive vice president (EVP) leadership team. It includes the following appointments:

Cristal Torres DeHerrera as Chief of Staff, responsible for government affairs, culture and strategy and the Commerce Hub helping to recruit, retain and provide support for small, minority and women-owned businesses.

Penny May as Chief Commercial Officer, overseeing concessions, aviation commercial business development, business operations and procurement and business technologies.

Sylvester Lavender as Chief Financial Officer, overseeing finance and accounting.

Steve Jaquith as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing airport operations including safety and security as well as maintenance.

Scott McCoy as General Counsel, overseeing all airport legal functions.

Jim Starling will be appointed Chief Construction and Infrastructure Officer, overseeing planning, design and construction. Starling comes to DEN from Jacobs’ San Diego office where he currently serves as vice president and construction program manager for the Mid-Coast Corridor Projects. Previous to that, he worked as a Corridor Manager for the Regional Transportation District in Denver. Starling will begin his role at DEN in late November 2021.

The EVP team will assist CEO Washington in implementing his Vision 100 Plan, DEN’s comprehensive and thoughtful plan to ensure the airport is ready and able to effectively serve 100 million annual passengers.

While DEN experienced a slight set back as a result of the pandemic, passenger traffic is expected to fully recover in 2022 putting the airport on pace to reach 100 million annual passengers between 2030 and 2035. Vision 100 consists of four pillars and four guiding principles to guide the airport into the future. The EVP team is responsible for leading projects, programs and initiatives related to the following pillars:

  1. Powering our people: This first pillar is all about the people who work at DEN and community members who want to be part of DEN today or in the future. To ensure we have a strong and skilled workforce, we must provide opportunities for current employees to develop and grow so we can retain our talent and knowledge. We also need to prepare future employees by providing training and internship opportunities. Ultimately, we want Denver to become THE place that businesses and governments around the world look to recruit and hire aviation talent. We will also create more opportunities for minority, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses to do business at DEN and grow to potentially become prime contractors or full concession owners. By taking care of our people, we can ensure DEN is the most equipped airport now and in the future.
  2. Growing our infrastructure: We must continue to invest and grow our facility by completing projects such as Phase III of the Great Hall and the next phase of Gate Expansion, adding more gates than the 39 we are currenting building. We also need to continue with improvements to Peña Boulevard and exploring options for a 7th and even 8th runway. We need to continue adding capacity to our baggage system and upgrading technology and need to explore options to provide redundancy for the train to and from the terminal and concourses. As we kick off the development of our next Capital Improvement Plan, we need to ensure we can build a facility that can accommodate 100 million annual passengers, a 30% increase to current passenger volume.
  3. Maintaining what we have: Just as important is taking care of what we currently have. The airport is 26 years old and is experiencing a great deal of wear and tear due to our increasing passenger volumes. Projects such as Concourse Renewal which will upgrade our restrooms, wayfinding, hold rooms and flooring will make a tremendous improvement. We will also continue to replace aging conveyances, replace and even add train cars and ensure our asset management system is efficient and effective. Added to this pillar is working hard to improve cleanliness, wayfinding – particularly important during our ongoing construction of the Great Hall – check-ins, WiFi access, parking, concession options, and seating comfort.
  4. Expanding global connections: A major competitive advantage DEN has is our vast amount of land and the fact that we are centrally located in the United States with easy access to the east and west coast. This will allow us to expand our air service network and grow our cargo operations. Our DEN Real Estate program will be essential for this pillar as we activate approximately 16,000 acres for development. By doing so, we will generate additional revenue, keeping cost competitive for airlines, which will lead to more flights, more passengers and more business opportunities.

Along with these four pillars, are four guiding principles, which will be incorporated into the execution of each pillar and are just as critical to our success.

  1. Sustainability: Our goal is to become the greenest airport in the world.
  2. Equity, diversity and inclusion: We are better when everyone has a seat at the table and when we respect and listen to all viewpoints.
  3. Customer experience: This is our core business, and we have to exceed the needs and desires of travelers.
  4. Our stakeholders: DEN is bigger than just us. We are the economic engine of this state and so many individuals, businesses and entities depend on our success including our airline partners, concessionaires, neighbors, businesses, local and federal agencies, elected official, travel and tourism partners, our employees and travelers. We must all work together to be successful!

As worldwide populations increase and more of that population moves to urban areas by 2050, “Vision 100 is even more important to the future success of DEN, our community, and the world,” said DEN CEO Phillip Washington. “DEN belongs to all of Colorado. As we increase our passenger numbers and global connections, this team will be working to create more economic, business, education and cultural opportunities. The opportunities are endless and together we can create a stronger more diverse community where everyone can thrive.”

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!