Diane Papaianni: Heels on the Ground at Newark Liberty International (and boots when necessary)

By Joseph Iorio, Media Relations Staff

Mornings when Diane Papaianni arrives at her office in Building 1 at Newark Liberty International Airport, she never knows precisely what challenges the day will bring. Which is a big reason why her job as General Manager of New Jersey Airports, with its breadth of responsibilities, is both interesting and tough:  there’s never a dull moment.

Diane Papaianni_

Papaianni, a 36-year veteran of the Port Authority, not only confronts some of the busiest sky and ground traffic in the world on a daily basis, but she and her staff are responsible for making facility improvements, ensuring that everything runs smoothly both inside and outside the terminals, and maintaining compliance with federal aviation rules well beyond the tarmac.  All with one main objective in mind:  to create a traveling experience for the flying public that is as predictable and timely as possible.

Though aviation is a field typically dominated by men, Papaianni was attracted to the industry because of the non-traditional work environment and fast-paced nature of the job.

IMG_0702“The work is invigorating, challenging and most importantly, rewarding,” says Papaianni, who began her Port Authority career in 1979. As I walked around the AirTrain Maintenance Control Facility, I was conscious of the fact that I was the only woman in the building (besides the receptionist),” Papaianni said recently.

“Even when I attended meetings with contract managers, engineers and other supervisors, I was often the only female in the conference room,” she said.

Papaianni began her career with the Port Authority as a secretary in the Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department before making the switch to aviation.  In order to win the respect of her colleagues, she acknowledges working much harder to prove herself worthy of her position.

“I try my best to excel and build strong relationships with all of my coworkers. The main tools I use are confidence in myself and confidence in my own abilities to reach new levels of achievement, both personally and professionally,” she says. “That has worked for me in the past and I’m confident will work for me in the years ahead.”



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