In recognition of her leadership and overcoming difficult challenges during a time of crisis, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) selected Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, director of the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, to receive the 2011 PCMA Chairman’s Award. Hamm-Niebruegge accepted the honor in person during the closing general session and luncheon at the 2012 PCMA annual meeting, Convening Leaders in San Diego, Calif.
“The PCMA Chairman’s Award is the highest honor PCMA bestows each year to an individual or an organization for their unique achievements or contributions to the meetings industry in the previous year,” said Susan Katz, PCMA Chairman. “Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge showed great leadership in response to adversity and a commitment to our industry through spearheading the effort to reopen Lambert St. Louis International Airport shortly following a tornado.”
In April 2011, a tornado stuck the region, leaving the airport in ruin. With two major events coming up – the FIRST Robotics Competition and the International Biomass Conference & Expo – Hamm- Niebruegge led the effort to quickly reopen the airport. She arrived at the airport within 10 minutes of the incident and found her team 50% through phase one of the airport’s Crisis Management Plan. The team had already sought out and determined there were no injuries and begun the removal of broken glass. Hamm-Niebruegge took the reins and had the airport open for landings in 24 hours. The airport team’s immediate response, without hesitation or direction, is a testament to the leadership, preparation and communication Hamm-Niebruegge had instilled in each team member. You can read more about this story here.
The Lambert- St. Louis International Airport is the primary air carrier facility for the St. Louis region, handling over 14 million passengers annually. As Director, Hamm-Niebruegge manages nearly 500 employees with revenues averaging 165 million dollars annually.
Prior to Lambert, Hamm-Niebruegge logged 25 years in aviation management positions with American Airlines, Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Ozark Air Lines; a majority of her career has been based in St. Louis, Missouri.
Hamm-Niebruegge is engaged in numerous St. Louis business and civic organizations, including board memberships in the Regional Commerce and Growth Association, the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University and St. Louis Variety, and serves as Board President for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis. She has been honored multiple times by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of St. Louis’ “100 Most Influential Leaders.” In 2009, Saint Louis University awarded Ms. Hamm-Niebruegge with its Global Leadership Service Award.