Cadence Community Champion: J. Brian O’Neill Creating a 1.3 Billion Regional Economic Impact

What began as a small advanced flying school for combat pilots in 1941 has evolved into one of the region’s biggest economic drivers – the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Now nearly seven decades later, CEO J. Brian O’Neill is setting his sights on new horizons for the airport and region as he forges new partnerships that create even more opportunities in the East Valley.

Each month, Cadence at Gateway recognizes Arizona leaders working to improve the East Valley region in the business, education, government, non-profit and faith based community. This month, we are proud to recognize Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport CEO and Executive Director J. Brian O’Neill as our East Valley Community Champion.

O’Neill came to the airport in 2015 after a national search for an airport Deputy Director. Previously he had more than 20 years of commercial airport management expertise including serving as the deputy airport director of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, with approximately 2.1 million passengers.

In 2016 he was named CEO and Executive Director of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and over the past two years has led the airport to a new role within the region as a major economic catalyst and the hub for the area’s dynamic transformation.

The airport creates a 1.3 billion regional economic impact and has posted its best ever summer passenger numbers in the history of the airport. Travelers can now choose from one of 46 nonstop destinations offered at Gateway Airport through its airline partners Allegiant, WestJet, Swoop and now California Pacific Airlines. In fact, just this month O’Neill announced three new flights to Carlsbad California, Edmonton, Canada and St. George, Utah.

Today, Gateway hosts more than 40 companies and is developing as an international aerospace center with aircraft maintenance, modification, testing, and pilot training. It’s recent SkyBridge Partnership is another milestone O’Neill has overseen which is expected to generate thousands of jobs for the region as it becomes the nation’s first and only inland international air logistics hub offering both U.S. and Mexican Customs services. The SkyBridge program is expected to transform the airport into a high-density employment center as well as a globally-recognized commerce powerhouse.

On top of his advocacy for the region in his airport leadership role, O’Neill still finds time to lead and serve on the East Valley Partnership board and various other civic and tourism boards through out the region.

Thank you Brian being a Cadence Community Champion as you bring new opportunities to our region. To learn more about Brian O’Neill and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s tremendous impact visit

Know an individual or organization improving life in Mesa, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Chandler or Queen Creek? Send your Cadence Community Champion nominations to