THE FLY QUEEN
Airport Director and CEO, West Virginia International Yeager Airport
SUPERPOWER: Making connections
Dominique Ranieri’s father used to take her and her sisters to the airport to watch planes take off and land. Though she comes from a family with roots in aviation, she left her hometown in Florida for the Appalachian School of Law. She was later recruited by Steptoe & Johnson, first as an intern, then as a practicing attorney who quickly fell in love with West Virginia.
The call of the skies couldn’t be quieted, however, and Ranieri eventually made a career change to a marketing and air service department role at Yeager Airport. In just six years, she climbed the ranks and made history as the first female to serve as the director and chief operating officer of the 75-year-old airport.
Ranieri was humbled by the decision, but she knows the extra responsibility it carries. “Aviation in general has been male-dominated. I would go to conferences in my previous roles and be one of few women—but it’s rapidly changing,” she says. “Women are seeing they can find roles here they enjoy. Everyone in the state has welcomed me just like any other person, and I enjoy getting to encourage other women to look for roles in this industry.”
Of all the work that comes with it, Ranieri’s favorite perk of the job is working with the people. “I get to talk to people and be out in the terminal building, seeing people come back and reunite with family. I see people arrive who have never been here—see their first few minutes here. It’s nice to be a gateway to the state.”
Despite not being raised here, this Wonder Woman is dedicated to helping more people experience the Mountain State. “West Virginia is just the best kept secret, and one of these days, everyone is going to find out.”
Learn more about our Wonder Women
Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.