Samson Mengistu is retiring as chief operating officer of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), ending a 30-year career with the City of Los Angeles.

“Samson Mengistu has been a steady, guiding force in helping set and execute evolving agendas at Los Angeles World Airports,” says LAWA CEO Deborah Flint in a statement announcing the retirement. “His vast institutional knowledge and business savvy have helped us grow in countless ways, contributing to numerous successes and establishing a tremendous legacy. We are heartbroken to see him go but wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”

Mengistu begin working for the City of Los Angeles in 1989. In 2003, he was named LAWA deputy executive director of board relations and special programs with responsibility for risk management, procurement and LAWA’s $500 million Property Acquisition Program.

His work paved the way for the Automated People Mover and Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) facility, part of the multibillion-dollar Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP) at Los Angeles International (LAX).

From 2006 to 2015, Mengistu served as deputy executive director for administration in charge of finance, office of the board of airport commissioners, human resources, risk management and contract services. He served twice as acting executive director and in 2015, he was appointed COO by Flint.

“Working for Los Angeles World Airports and the City of Los Angeles has been an honor and privilege, and I am grateful to have been part of such a dedicated, passionate, and hardworking team,” says Mengistu. “I am confident that LAWA, and the superb team assembled by CEO Deborah Flint, is positioned to achieve new heights in the years to come and will continue to set the standard for excellence among major airport systems in the world.”

Samson will remain in his current role through the first part of the summer and will assist Flint as needed in the organizational transition through the beginning of 2020.