Frontiers of Flight Museum proved an apropos setting for the presentation ceremony of the second annual Advertising Innovation and Marketing Excellence Award (AIME) award, as this year’s recipient was Southwest Airlines president and CEO Gary Kelly.
The AIME award honors a corporate leader whose company’s advertising and marketing initiatives have furthered his or her organization’s success and have positively impacted the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the professional arena. Don Clampitt, CEO of Clampitt Paper, received the first AIME award last year and presented Kelly with his.
Kelly began his career at Southwest 28 years ago as controller. He then served as executive vice president and CFO before his promotion to CEO in 2004. Under Kelly’s supervision, Southwest has expanded to become the United States’ largest airline in originating domestic passengers carried.
In 2014, Southwest ranked ninth on Fortune magazine’s list of most admired companies in the world, and Kelly is currently leading the airline through several key initiatives, including its first international destinations launch. Southwest Airlines has 45,000 employees and serves more than 100 million customers annually.
“In addition to increasing the company’s earnings, the creativity and innovation exuded by Southwest under Kelly’s leadership has greatly improved and added to the local community’s professional image, making Kelly the perfect recipient of this award,” said event chair Roger Tremblay.
Among those who gathered to honor Kelly were Anne Murray, Kevin Krone, William Tierney, Ryan Green and Ginger Hardage.
The money raised at the awards ceremony benefits the Dream Fund, a nonprofit that supports marketing and communications professionals who undergo life-threatening experiences, as well as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the American Marketing Association (AMA).