PHL Celebrates Earth Day with Its Annual Earth Day Awards

The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) community celebrated Earth Day on April 23 in the Terminal B/C event space. The festivities included art and educational activities and Recycled Art Projectsthe recognition of PHL's high achievers in the field of sustainability with the annual Earth Day Awards.


The event opened with an inspiring recycled art demonstration. Under the guidance of artist Terrance Woolford, passengers and employees turned everyday materials into personalized heart badges. This is the second year that Woolford has participated in Earth Day with his interactive art projects.

Chief Development Officer Api Appulingam kicked off the awards presentation portion of the event by expressing her gratitude for the event’s exhibitors and acknowledging the airport sustainability team for organizing the celebration. “It’s great to see everyone here together, to have fun while learning about the environment and ways to be more sustainable!” she said.  

CEO Atif Saeed presented the annual Earth Day Awards. "These are the people who take on leadership roles on environmental issues, incorporate sustainability into their programs, and uphold environmental ethics in their everyday duties," said Saeed, "In short, they celebrate Earth Day every day." The recipients of the Earth Day awards were Southwest Airlines and two members of the Department of Aviation team, Lee Sutanto, Airport Assistant Engineering Manager; and Cassandra Williams, Vice President of Finance and Accounting.  

From left, Atif Saeed with Southwest's Jessica Rouvaldt and Manny CentenoSouthwest converted a majority of their ground support fleet, which includes 15 baggage tugs and 14 belt loaders, from diesel fuel to electric power. They partnered with the Department of Aviation on this endeavor, helping PHL secure a $777,000 grant from the FAA to install electric chargers. This electrification project will reduce carbon emissions by 950 metric tons annually and 9,500 pounds of other pollutants, leading to improved air quality at the airport and our neighboring communities. Manny Centeno, Southwest's PHL Station Manager, and Jessica Rouvaldt, Southwest’s Environmental Service Partner, accepted the award on behalf of Southwest Airlines.  

Sutanto, a pivotal member of the Department of Aviation's engineering team since 2016, manages the development of airside and landside infrastructure, which encompasses runways, taxiways, roadways, and facilities. Currently, Sutanto oversees the project team led by Andre Szumlyo and Kyle Watson responsible for the Taxiway J reconstruction project. This is the first project in Pennsylvania to ever receive an Envision-verification award. In 2021, when the airport adopted the Envision framework for sustainable infrastructure, Sutanto worked with Department of Aviation's Sustainability team, led by Jessica Noon and Elena Fisher, to incorporate sustainability into the design and construction of airfield projects. Taxiway J Package 1 construction will be completed by October 2024 and stands as a testament to the high standard of the Department of Aviation's infrastructure development.  

Atif Saeed with Cassandra WilliamsWilliams led the development of the Department of Aviation’s first Environmental, Social, and Governance Report (ESG) for fiscal year 2021. For 2022, Williams collaborated with the Sustainability team to publish an even more detailed data focused ESG report. ESG reporting by airports is an emerging practice. Due to Williams’ foresight and innovative thinking, PHL and PNE are ahead of the curve in adopting this practice to share DOA's sustainability goals and progress with financial investors and the public.

Thank you to all of the event's exhibitors:

  • Clean Air Council
  • Fairmount Park Conservancy
  • Frontier Airlines
  • MarketPlace PHL
  • Pepsi/SodaStream
  • Pennypack Environmental Center
  • Philabundance
  • Philadelphia Department of Streets SWEEP program
  • Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
  • Philadelphia ZOO
  • SEPTA  



Media Contacts

Christine Ottow
Director of Strategic Communications
[email protected]
Heather Redfern
Public Affairs Manager
[email protected]

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