Judy Byrd, President and CEO of Byrd Retail Group, LLC is one of the country’s leading travel retail specialists and a pioneer in the world of airport concessions, having guided over 60 airports in integrating important new businesses into their modernization and expansion plans. She is an attorney; a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center; a former Assistant Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Aviation; a founding partner in the Chicago-based airport consulting firm Unison Consulting Group; and now president of her own retail brand advisory and concessions investment company based in New York City. She is considered by clients and peers to be an exceptional strategist and pragmatic planner whose expertise intersects real estate, retail, consumer behaviour and travel.
In 1989, Judy and her partner created Unison Consulting Group, a Chicago based airport consulting firm. Within ten years they parlayed their expertise into a national business with over 60 employees providing financial, retail and systems planning for well over 80 airports in the U.S., Canada and South America.
Judy directed business development for the company, and also led its esteemed national airport concessions practice. Under her direction, Unison conducted analyses, and designed Concessions Master Plans for over 60 new and redeveloped terminals. She also built an on-site property management practice, leasing and managing programs at Chicago O’Hare, and New York’s LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports among others. Notably, hers was the only firm in the industry at the time with a dedicated practice in retail planning, implementation and management.
She has served on the ACI Associates Board, and her company, Unison Consulting was one of the founding member firms of AMAC, playing a critical role in the growth and development of the organization. In addition, Judy has personally provided advice and counsel to numerous small businesses and ACDBE’s on entry, growth and success in the airport industry.
Judy Byrd currently provides advisory services for the Estée Lauder Companies, the world’s largest prestige beauty company. She works across their portfolio of over 40 brands including such companies as Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Jo Malone, La Mer, Clinique and Tom Ford Beauty presenting them in duty paid formats in airports nationally. She herself is now an ACDBE, certified in numerous cities across the country and participating in select airport food and retail programmes.