March 20, 2024

Nelson Receives UMNAA Nathalie Molton Gibbons Young Achiever's Award

Matthew Nelson ’11 received the Nathalie Molton Gibbons Young Achiever’s Award, which is given annually to an alum age 35 or younger whose career and community contributions have reflected positively at the local, state or national level, at its 2024 Homecoming awards dinner and annual business meeting Feb. 16 in Anna Irvin Dining Hall.

Starting as an operations specialist at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Nelson’s knowledge and determination allowed him to advance quickly and eventually become vice president of facilities at the Birmingham Airport Authority.

Joined by his wife, Ariel, their daughter, Olivia, his parents and other family, friends and colleagues at the awards dinner, Nelson expressed his gratitude for their support.

“This award is not a recognition of my individual efforts, but a testament to the unwavering support and encouragement I’ve received from my mentors, coworkers, friends and family,” Nelson said. “Their guidance and belief in me have propelled me forward and shaped me into the man I am today.”

Nelson graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in health promotion. He began his career with BHM in 2012, where he worked his way up through the operations sector for eight years. In October 2020, he became manager of facilities with the BAA.

His success in this position led Nelson to BAA’s executive staff; he was appointed vice president of facilities in February 2021. In this role, his duties include managing the facilities department, planning and directing the work of custodial and maintenance personnel and ensuring efficient maintenance for the airport, including all airport-owned properties.

“Matthew is a distinct representative of Birmingham business leaders,” said nominator Darlene Wilson ’11, vice chair of the BAA Board of Directors. “His dedicated work ethic and commitment to continuous improvement and success of operations is important to our growth and relates directly to intentional passenger and team satisfaction.”