In honor of Black History Month, A.Bradley Mims, FAA Deputy Administrator and Former MWAA Board Member, shared his personal stories, experiences, inspirations, what inclusion and diversity means to him individually and in the workforce.


A brief Introduction of your professional journey

I grew up in Washington, D.C. and I have spent my career here for the past 45 years. When I was 17 years old, I began working at the Congressional Affairs Office as the US Department of Transportation, and then worked on Capitol Hill for 12 years with John Lewis, who was on the public works & transportation committee. The transportation world had found me.

My career later took me to the Smithsonian as the National Liaison for the Air & Space Museum and National African American Museum and then to the Clinton Administration as the Head of Congressional Affairs and the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). I spent time with Booze Allen Hamilton as the liaison to the DOT, Parsons Brinkerhoff in their aviation markets and as the President & CEO Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. I am now the Deputy Administrator of the FAA.

I was also pleased to serve on the Airports Authority Board of Directors representing the State of Maryland from 2014 through earlier this year when I left for the FAA.  


2020 has been an unprecedented year in many ways and you have been at the epicenter of lot of changes as part of the presidential transition team – Can you share some of your experiences?

I was tapped by President Biden’s Transition team to serve as the Agency Review Team subject matter expert of racial equity. Our work from October to mid-January focused on topics of racial equity, inclusion and social justice. It was a great experience and connected me to a lot of folks in the industry. Racial equity  cuts across all modes of transportation. It was a great experience, giving me exposure to the Biden-Harris organization. It was an honor for them to ask me to serve as the Deputy Administration of the FAA and being the Chief political officer there.


Recently there has been a lot of conversation about equity and inclusion, what does being an African American in an executive role mean to you?

I need to, and want to, have an impact on equity and inclusion. Unfortunately, people of color are totally underrepresented in the aviation industry and I wanted to use this platform to encourage greater racial equity. I want to make sure as I go forward that I’m in a position to encourage young African Americans, young Hispanics, young everybody to come along, make a change and having a career in transportation, and in particular in aviation.


Who are some heroes in Black history (or entrepreneurs) that inspire you and Why?

The Department of Transportation has a number of African American leaders I admire, such as William T. Coleman, he served in the Ford Administration. He was a pioneer, an unsung hero in the civil rights movement, and worked hand-in-in with Thurgood Marshall, who was the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court. If you look at Mr. Coleman’s credentials, they were impeccable: he graduated #1 in his class from Harvard Law School in the early 1940s, that kind of thing was unheard of as far as I’m concerned. He was very much involved in the whole issue of racial injustice.

I also love unsung heroes. You take a person like Mr. Benjamin Mays, who was the mentor and teacher to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was the President of Morehouse College when Dr. King was there and remained his mentor until his untimely death. Perrin J. Mitchell is a member of Congress from Baltimore. He was the father of the DBE Program, the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee back in the 1970s and 1980s and the founder of Congressional Black Congress. Carmen Turner was the first African American woman to run a major transportation system in the country - ran the Metrorail system in Washington, DC. These are people who have improved the quality of life for African Americans and others, people generally here in the United States.


What does Black History mean to you? 

Black history is American history, pure and simple. We are all Americans and Americans should be cognizant of the contributions that African Americans have made over the years and to help build this country and help make this country what it is. They were pioneers of civil rights, pioneers of invention, and in almost every aspect of history here in the United States and I want to make sure that as we go forward that those unsung folks are recognized.

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