William J. Potter

Industry Expert

Executive Summary

William Potter has over 38 years of airport operations, engineering and management experience. He brings a diverse aviation background and solutions-oriented approach to every client.

First introduced to aviation as a line service technician, Potter later served for six years in the U.S Navy as an air traffic controller. Since then, he has held numerous leadership positions and developed vast aviation industry experience in airport administration, operations, finance, property, planning and other areas.

Potter’s first job in airport management was as Operations Manager at the Hayward Air Terminal, a busy general aviation reliever airport in the San Francisco Bay Area. He later accepted a position in San Jose International Airport’s (SJC) Operations Division. During his 13-year tenure, he developed and implemented the airport’s first landside operations section and was rapidly promoted to positions of increased leadership, including Assistant Director of Aviation.

With a forthright approach to problem-solving, Potter brings extensive experience building relationships among stakeholders who have divergent goals and competing interests. He has provided numerous presentations to airport commissions, elected officials, airlines, the public and a multitude of federal, state and local government agencies. He also has actively engaged in consulting and working with the National Academies of Science as a panel member for the Airport Cooperative Research Program.

Potter’s breadth of experience and oversight abilities lend well to any general aviation airport wishing to establish and maintain excellent working and funding relationships with the FAA. A certified private pilot, he also devotes his time to educating and mentoring future aviation administrators as an instructor in airport management at San Jose State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Experience Highlights

Northwest Florida Regional Airport, Okaloosa County, Florida

Airport Operations and Maintenance Manager

  • Led a 20-member team that included airport maintenance, custodial and communications staff.
  • Responsible for tenant activities, special operations, the implantation of new airline service and coordination of operations with Eglin AFB at joint-use facility.
  • Developed and implemented common use equipment operations, and handled resolution of issues with the state DOT regarding two airports owned and operated by the county.

Mineta-San Jose International Airport, San Jose, California

Assistant Director of Aviation

  • Led a team of more than 400 personnel responsible for all airport operations and activities at medium hub airport handling over 14 million annual passengers.
  • Responsible for implementation of the airport’s master plan, and all human resource and training functions.

Hayward Air Terminal, Hayward, California

Operations Manager

  • Managed all aspects of airport operations including, but not limited to, safety program, tenant relations, airfield inspections, hangar inspections, maintenance of airfield and infrastructure, and implementation of capital improvements.
  • Responsible for coordination with the FAA and DOT.

McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, Long Beach, California

Principle Engineer

  • Worked in various capacities in both the Airport Compatibility Group and Customer Engineering.
  • Developed standardized approaches to airport issues and coordination of airline customer concerns in coordination with industry groups.


B.S., Professional Aeronautics, Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University
M.B.A., Aviation Management, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
A.A.E.-accredited, American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)