Brian D. Ryks, A.A.E. was named Executive Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission in May 2016. He is responsible for the administration and management of one of the nation’s largest airport systems, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and six reliever airports.
From 2016 through 2020, Ryks oversaw $1.4 billion in MAC airport improvement projects, including:
- A multi-year expansion and modernization of facilities at the front of Terminal 1, including the departures and arrivals lobbies and improved passenger flow throughout multiple levels
- Enlargement of Terminal 1 Concourse G to house added gate seating, expanded concessions space and a new Delta Sky Club
- Addition of the new Silver Parking Ramp, providing 5,000 more vehicle stalls at Terminal 1 as well as new ground transportation and auto rental facilities
- Significant enhancements to the Valet Parking Garage and Lost-and-Found facilities
- Reconstruction of the Terminal 1 roadway
- Expansion of the Arts@MSP program, one of the nation’s premier airport arts and culture initiatives
- Upgrades to airport safety and technology infrastructure
- Major infrastructure improvements at the Crystal and Lake Elmo reliever airports, enhancing safety and efficiency
Coupled with a revamped, award-wining concessions program and an intense focus on the customer experience, the improvements helped lead to Airports Council International naming MSP the Best Airport in North America in its size category for four consecutive years based on traveler surveys.
MSP set passenger records every year of Ryks’ tenure at the MAC until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, driving down air travel demand across the globe.
Before arriving in Minneapolis, Ryks was executive director and CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While there, Mr. Ryks oversaw major airport improvements, a re-branding campaign and transition from county control to an airport authority. Ryks also led an innovative funding campaign to raise $20 million in private capital in support of a $45 million terminal expansion.
During Ryks’ tenure, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport set all-time records for passengers in 2014 and 2015 and was rated in 2015 as the number one airport in North America in its size category by Airports Council International.
Prior to his time in Michigan, Ryks was the executive director at the Duluth Airport Authority, overseeing Duluth International and Sky Harbor airports in Minnesota. During his 10 years in Duluth, Mr. Ryks oversaw the completion of $135 million in airport improvements, culminating with a $77 million project to develop a new terminal.
Before arriving in Duluth, Mr. Ryks was employed for five years as the airport manager at the St. Cloud Regional Airport and for two years as the airport manager in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He also spent six years in Denver, where he was the manager of noise abatement at Stapleton and Denver International Airports.
He began his career as a noise technician at the Metropolitan Airports Commission in 1986.
Ryks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Cloud State University, is a licensed pilot with an instrument rating and an Accredited Airport Executive with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). A past member of the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Board of Directors, Ryks is Chairman of the ACI-NA Large Hub Airports Committee and a member of the organization’s US Policy Council. In addition, Ryks serves on the board of the American Association of Airport Executives and is a member of its Policy Review Committee. He also holds a professional affiliation with the Great Lakes Chapter of AAAE (GL-AAAE) and is past president of GL-AAAE.
On the community front, Ryks is a board member of Meet Minneapolis as well as of the Minneapolis Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Ryks was awarded a TSA Partnership Award in 2006, a Patriot Award from the National Guard and Reserve in 2008, a 2009 Minnesota Council of Airport’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Promotion of Aviation, a 2012 Minnesota Council of Airports Distinguished Service Award and was named the 2015 Newsmaker of the Year in Economic Development by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
Brian Ryks' biographical information is available in PDF form.