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Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is a city within a metroplex, sitting on 27 square miles and filled with hotels, high-end restaurants and cocktail lounges, with a light-rail system and its own toll road. It’s also one of the busiest airports in the world.
Catrina Gilbert heads the airport’s risk management department as well as the team responsible for its enterprise risk management program.
Early this year, DFW faced unprecedented challenges, including a homelessness crisis. Ms. Gilbert was assigned to create solutions to decrease number of homeless people taking shelter at the airport, which exceeded more than 100 a night.
“People often come by train or by bus for a safe place to get out of the cold,” Ms. Gilbert said. “Unfortunately, the airport is not equipped to serve as a shelter. We had no plans to criminalize this issue; instead we wanted to find a compassionate answer to the problem.
“We worked closely with community partners to relocate the homeless, many of them with families, to housing where they found themselves in a better situation.”
Ms. Gilbert and her team decreased the homeless population at the airport by 90% within two months.
“We’re proud of the work Catrina is doing at DFW Airport,” said Linda Valdez Thompson, DFW executive vice president of administration, diversity, equity and inclusion. “She plays a vital role on the team, creating innovative solutions to ensure a safe and secure work environment during these unprecedented times.”
In March, Ms. Gilbert was appointed co-chair of DFW’s Readiness Task Force to coordinate and oversee the airport’s efforts to monitor, prevent, contain, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Under her leadership, the group implemented multiple initiatives in a matter of weeks.
“We’re still making our way through it, with resilience and leadership throughout the airport,” she said. “It’s all hands on-deck, with risk management taking the lead. I like to say, ‘Get in front of it,’ and that’s what everyone at DFW has done.”