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Elida “Elly” Smith brings extensive industry and management experience – and dedication to supporting STEM education – to her new role.


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SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -  San Antonio District 7 Councilwoman Marina Alderete Gavito has appointed Elida "Elly" Smith to Port San Antonio's 11-member Board of Directors.

Smith's professional career as a multi-faceted engineer spans several sectors that are also thriving on the Port's 1,900-acre innovation campus, which in the last six years has added 8,000 new jobs in aerospace, cybersecurity, robotics and an array of applied technologies.

"Elly brings tremendous energy and years of hard work, drive and deep experience to her new role on the Port's Board of Directors," said Councilwoman Alderete Gavito. "The Port has been on the leading edge of economic growth for our community. With Elly's professional acumen and shared dedication to opening doors of opportunity for other San Antonians, I know she will be a strong contributor in helping her fellow Board members and the Port team reach even greater heights."

"We're thrilled by the Councilwoman's appointment of Elly as our newest colleague," said Board Chair Margaret Wilson-Anaglia. "She's a renowned industry leader who comes to us with tremendous wells of knowledge of the sectors already based here and which we seek to advance. Very importantly, her own impressive path will also help inform how we continue growing this very special place. We're committed to work with others to keep strengthening bonds between community, industry, educators and others — to ensure that we are an ever-growing gateway for San Antonians to connect with and lead in industries that are changing the world."

"I'm honored for this great opportunity," said Smith. "And I'm excited to contribute my experience and my voice to help continue the important transformation that is clearly evident across the Port campus as a place of discovery, learning and inspiration for the youngest among us, as well as a unique platform that allows hard-working people to channel their energy and lead the way in some very exciting technologies."

As a Senior Principal staff member, Smith is a Portfolio Manager for The MITRE Corporation — one of the world's leading nonprofit organizations advancing research and development on behalf of numerous federal agencies. Her current work focuses on research and activities in support of implementing Trajectory Based Operations in our National Airspace System — improving the efficiency and predictability of flight operations. 

During nearly two decades of service to MITRE, she has applied her wide range of expertise in aviation and transportation to support the advancement of strategies and programs that enhance operational efficiency and safety across the nation's air transportation systems. As part of her work at MITRE, she shares a patent with colleagues for the development of audio/speech recognition technologies that help air traffic controllers enhance runway safety. She has also published numerous articles and led seminars in her fields of expertise. 

Before joining MITRE, she performed research on improving the safety of aviation and rail operations with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Smith also worked as a propulsion design engineer for The Boeing Company, a systems engineer for Continental Airlines and was a research intern studying environmental effects on solar cell semiconductors for Hughes Space and Communications, where she began her career.

Smith is the recipient of numerous professional recognitions from her employers, as well as those awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), among others.

Smith brings additional experience to the Port's Board through her past service on the Board of Directors for Women in Aerospace (WIA), a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to expanding women's opportunities for leadership and increasing their visibility in the aerospace community, and Aviation Week's Young Professional Advisory Board.

Her other current volunteer activities include serving as a member of professional organizations, including the Air Traffic Controller Association (ATCA) and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). She's also a past member of her homeowners' association board.

Smith also greatly enjoys supporting her community through STEM-focused programs in San Antonio, such as the Department of Energy's National Science Bowl.

She holds an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University and received a Master of Science (MS) degree in human factors engineering from Tufts University. 

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