Monica Horvath brings 19 years of experience as an aviation professional to her new role as a Hobby Area Management District board member.

Horvath, a Southern California native who’s lived in Houston with her husband since 2014, works in an operations role in the city’s Aviation Department and holds a bachelor’s degree in business management. Her job entails managing so-called landside operations at William P. Hobby Airport, meaning physical properties like airport parking garages and roadways.

“It’s everything from the gates to the roads,” said Horvath, referring to the gates inside the airport where passengers board their flights to the roads they take when leaving the airport. It’s a role, she said, that’s heavy on customer service and on problem-solving.

On any given day, Horvath and her team might help handle a medical emergency on an inbound flight, a damaged airport roadway, or a shuttle bus that’s broken down.

“We are the problem-solving individuals,” she said. “We won’t rest until the problem is resolved. We have a great opportunity to sway a positive or a negative customer experience because we’re often the first interaction, and the last, that many passengers see and encounter.”

Before her board appointment, Horvath served on the District’s economic development and public safety committees for a year. Other Houston airport executives were on the Hobby Area District board; Horvath is proud to take her turn at a time of growth at Hobby Airport.

In 2023, Houston airports reached a record number of passengers. Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport saw 60.1 million passengers.

With the increase, relationships with the airports’ surrounding neighborhoods and communities are essential. That’s especially true for Hobby, which is close to surrounding communities without a significant land buffer.

Passengers’ experience also doesn’t stop at the airport, Horvath added. She wants to help give visitors to Houston from around the world the best welcome possible from the moment they touch down to the time they spend here. This includes enhancing the airport’s look and feel, such as landscaping and beyond.

Horvath is excited to revive and revitalize community engagement activities and programs at the airport. This includes Hobby Fest, a typically annual event held on the Hobby Airport grounds in past years, featuring free food, games, music, and aviation exhibits and activities.

The event last happened in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re looking to revitalize it within a year,” she said.

“I’m quite happy here in Texas — there’s always something to do, there’s never a dull moment — and I’m so excited for this new challenge that’s been afforded me,” she said. “And I’m also just incredibly interested and driven to do good when I’m here, both for the airport system and the district.”

— By Deborah Lynn Blumberg