Mary Ruiz resides in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and has over 30 years of experience in the airline industry. She has extensive work experience in the areas of policies, procedures, and program management, always with a focus on people. She has worked for Pan Am, TWA, American Airlines, and most recently, as the Station Manager for Spirt Airlines, where she led the airline’s station team in its response to various emergencies, including weather-related natural disasters. Her career roles and responsibilities as a Station Manager not only included the Safety and Security of the airlines’ airport operations, but she also worked as a Complaints Resolution Officer, providing attention and resolving disability-related issues for customers.
After the Category 5 Hurricane Maria destroyed much of Puerto Rico in 2017, many of the island’s residents were left with no water, little communication, and no electricity for months. Over 5,000 lives were lost due to the hurricane and many thousands more sustained catastrophic damage to their homes, including Mary. Despite the magnitude of the damage incurred, Mary continued working and leading her team in its assistance to island residents with large-scale medical evacuation flights due to the local hospital closures, and supply flights bringing water and food into Aguadilla from South Florida.
Mary became a central figure in the response and recovery of western Puerto Rico, working closely with Operation Puerto Rico Care-Lift which assisted in the delivery of over 160 tons supplies to the island. In addition, she also assisted in the distribution of the supplies to remote sections of the region, and helped many of her fellow Puerto Ricans cope during such a devastating period.
Mary has been very active in her emergency preparedness activities, having participated in the Aguadilla Airport’s Emergency Response exercises, contingency planning, and large security exercises. She is also certified in sign language, and has worked as an airline instructor as well as a tutor, volunteering frequently throughout her community.
In her academic pursuits, Mary began in the field of computer programming, where was on the Dean’s List. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Forensics.
Mary has led her professional career with the highest of standards, integrity, and humanity. She has inspired others in her approach to responding to crises, and is beloved by the entire airport community, not only for her expertise in aviation leadership, but for her unconditional love and care for others.