For a decade now, our Indianapolis International Airport (IND) has been named the best of the best, providing an incredible amenity for our community to engage in business and personal travel and for our companies to connect to the broader global economy.
In 2022, IND became the first airport to be named the Airports Council International’s Best Airport in North America for ten straight years and once again received J. D. Power’s top honors for customer service.
“It’s the love and relentless dedication that our staff has put into this place that has made us the top airport in North America again and again – more times than any other airport in the country,” said Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “This is a tremendous honor, and we are incredibly proud of all the people who make this airport an example that all others can aspire to.”
Among the IAA staff members contributing to the airport’s demonstration of excellence are young professionals behind the scenes building and maintaining infrastructure and organizing people and events so IND can deliver an exceptional guest and vendor experience, create public value, and remain the best well into the future. Meet three of these emerging leaders choosing to call Indy home:
Attiyana Morris, Project Manager, Planning & Development, IAA and 1828 Leadership Project Class XII presented by Citizens Energy Group
Since joining the IAA team in 2019, Attiyana has helped open the lines of communication between project teams, stakeholders, and various IAA departments working together on the planning, architecture, engineering, and construction of airside projects (those exterior to the terminal like the runway and related infrastructure). Despite much of her emerging career taking place during the pandemic, she’s been instrumental in projects that have paved the way for IND’s recovery and future growth, including the $190 million runway construction project underway.
She credits the IAA’s commitment to their people for why the organization is so successful and why she feels so supported in her career. “I’m lucky to work for an organization that was willing to look beyond my limited work experience and give me a chance to succeed,” says Attiyana. “The Indianapolis Airport Authority is an organization that strives for community engagement and prioritizes its people. This airport takes pride in its people, and it shows in the customer service they deliver.”
Attiyana’s passion for aviation grew as an undergraduate at Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, earning a Bachelor’s in Aviation and Aerospace Management before beginning her career in Indianapolis. She devotes time to mentoring students in the Providence Cristo Rey High School work‐study program and working toward her American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) certification. Through these efforts, she strives to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals to achieve their goals.
Outside of work and volunteer commitments, Attiyana can be found walking along the Central Canal or strolling through a park, trying new restaurants with her family, or attending Indy Eleven games. “I’m proud to call Indy home because I feel like most of my personal and professional development took place when I moved here,” she says. “I believe Indiana is one of the places that doesn’t take from you, it genuinely wants to see you grow and develop as a person.”
Chance Toney, Parking Traffic Manager, IAA
When it comes to all things parking at the airport, Chance has a hand in it. He represents parking initiatives in capital project discussions that impact parking facilities, manages improvements and maintenance needs on existing parking lots, and manages a group of wayfinders that help passengers find available parking spaces – quite a list of responsibilities considering IND has 5,900 public parking spaces and 1,200 rental car spaces, with 1,500 more in the pipeline.
He’s driven to excel in his position by standing firm in the organization’s purpose and core values. “The pillars of the IAA are Customer Service, Economic Development, Stability and Sustainability, Workforce Development, and Community Engagement,” says Chance. “We are constantly looking for ways to provide excellent customer service to our passengers, and we have great people that are willing to work together to achieve the greater goals of our organization.”
As a proud born-and-raised Hoosier, Chance witnessed the organization stay true to those values throughout the travel-halting pandemic, and that resiliency and preparedness excites him about the future of IND and Indianapolis. “IND had a strategy, and we adapted to the situation very well. I believe the airport and the City of Indianapolis can do great things together,” he says.
With that mindset, he feels empowered to use his position to help others in the community succeed. When he has the opportunity to source contractors for new projects, he and the IAA work to ensure as many local and minority-owned businesses are bidding on the projects as possible.
When not managing parking projects at IND, Chance is working on his degree at Ivy Tech through the IAA’s education program, playing on the IAA’s softball team, attending concerts and sporting events, and exploring new restaurants.
Michelle Murphy, Executive Assistant, IAA
While Michelle’s responsibilities with the IAA involve supporting three different departments – Public Affairs, Commercial Enterprise, and Audit and Compliance, with everything from managing calendars and meetings to keeping key projects moving, it’s the support she receives in return from the organization and the Indianapolis community that she loves most about living and working here. “My co-workers support me and one another both personally and professionally,” says Michelle. “When my son was born with several life-changing challenges and disabilities, the IAA supported me every step of the way so I could juggle being a medical mom with my career. I love the kindness and Hoosier hospitality of the people here.”
It’s that Hoosier hospitality that she attributes to why IND continues to earn awards like Best Airport in North America and J. D. Power’s top honors for customer service and satisfaction. She notes the recent launching of an internal awards program to recognize concession employees who go above and beyond for travelers as an example of the organization’s dedication to the guest experience. “It’s one tangible way we can demonstrate how we value putting customers first and celebrate the hardworking frontline employees at IND,” she says.
Michelle also loves how often that Hoosier hospitality is on display as Indy and IND welcome visitors for major sporting events. Before joining the IAA, Michelle worked for ESPN, an experience that she leverages to support the city by serving on host committees for events like the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship and 2024 NBA All-Star Game.
Through her role on the host committees and at the IAA, she has the opportunity to work closely with economic development and tourism partners to determine air service and nonstop route needs of the community, a job she feels has the opportunity to really impact the future growth of the city as a whole. The possibility of more nonstop flights, including the return of a transatlantic destination, excites her about the future.
When Michelle’s not spending time working or with her son, she and her husband can be found exploring new and locally-owned restaurants around the city, especially those from local favorite Cunningham Restaurant Group.