Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board appoints UK MBA alum Elizabeth Woodward as Chair

Elizabeth Woodward

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board has appointed University of Kentucky MBA alum Elizabeth Woodward as chair of the board for 2020, which is the governing body for Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport. The board's 10 volunteer members are appointed by the Mayor of Lexington and confirmed by the Urban County Council. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the Blue Grass Airport offers non-stop and connecting service to hundreds of destinations worldwide. The airport serves more than 1.4 million passengers annually and serves Allegiant, American, Delta and United airlines. 

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board recently commissioned an economic impact study to determine Blue Grass Airport's role as a contributor to the region's social and economic well-being. This study, conducted by a well-respected aviation consulting firm, quantifies the economic contributions Blue Grass Airport provides to the community as well as numerous qualitative benefits. Findings from the study show that the airport contributed to the employment of approximately 3,478 jobs and a total economic output of $370 million. The economic impact of Blue Grass Airport was estimated using a Federal Aviation Administration-approved methodology that has been widely accepted by the aviation industry. The analysis considers the impacts associated with airport operations, on-airport capital improvement projects, visitors who arrive via commercial airlines and visitors who arrive on general aviation/private aircraft.

"In November 2020, the Breeders Cup returns to Keeneland and the Airport's staff will be busy all year getting ready for that," says Elizabeth. " Airports are highly regulated and have many stakeholders. Board members help management prioritize, and finance necessary changes. We constantly balance the need to keep cash on hand, invest in infrastructure, keep costs low and decrease debt."

When attending the University of Kentucky, Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and then decided to pursue her Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Accounting. 

"When I started my career, I realized that in order to advance in the accounting field I needed an advanced degree. Rather than getting a second undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue my MBA at the University of Kentucky. At the time, I intended to work in manufacturing however a tax professor suggested that I also pursue a CPA license, which I ultimately did. As you can see, teachers really can change lives!"

Elizabeth worked in the audit group of KPMG for six years, and joined Dean Dorton in 2000. She has 25 years of experience in public accounting. She leads Dean Dorton’s Forensic Group, specializing in bankruptcy accounting matters, litigation support, and forensic accounting services. In addition to her Certification in Financial Forensics (CFF), Woodward is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She has served in several fiduciary roles, including Chief Restructuring Officer, Receiver, and Fee Examiner. Woodward has acted as a Compliance Ethics Monitor/Independent Monitor of a rural electric cooperative, reporting to two branches of the Federal government. Woodward has testified in state and federal courts. She frequently teaches professional ethics for Dean Dorton and for KyCPA. Woodward also speaks on fraud prevention and detection, and on forensic accounting.

"Leaders in the accounting profession are trying to predict the future of our industry", says Elizabeth. "We know that with artificial intelligence how we do our jobs will change. We also know how accountants communicate and identify their clients’ needs will be paramount to their success. I believe an MBA is an excellent tool that helps you gain a better understanding of how businesses function in many facets and identify the bigger picture through analysis and strategy. Pursuing an MBA also gives you a chance to make connections that will help guide your career path."

Elizabeth currently serves as the president of the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants, serves on an American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) national committee of forensic accountants, and is often asked to speak as part of regional and national conferences. Woodward was appointed to the Airport board back in April 2014 and has served as treasurer, chair of the Airport Finance and Audit Committee, vice chair and now Chair.