Donna Girardot Honored with Governor’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

At Monday evening’s New Hanover County Board of Commissioners meeting, Donna Girardot, Airport Authority Chair and New Hanover County Planning Board Chair, was recognized with The Order of The Long Leaf Pine Award. This is the highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor and honors those who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.

Donna is known as a critical connector between state legislators, boards, staff and community groups; showcasing the value of working together for the overall economy and environment.

“Donna’s ability to be a consensus builder and bring people of differing views together is unparalleled and is what has helped her to stand out as a leader in this community,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair and Airport Authority member Julia Olson-Boseman. “The State of North Carolina and New Hanover County have directly benefited from her commitment to make this a better place to live and grow, and her passion and dedication is as deep as anyone I have personally ever known.”

Donna was appointed to the New Hanover County Airport Authority in 2015. She is now in her third year as Chairman of the Airport Authority – North Carolina’s first woman Airport Authority Chair. As Chair, she absorbs information, analyzes options, and guides the $1.8 billion economic impact ILM has to the regional economy. Her expertise in Government Affairs and knowledge of the NC Legislature and budget process helped secure funding for ILM’s Terminal Expansion in two consecutive NCDOT funding bills, exceeding $19M for infrastructure funding. 

Donna has been active in many other roles including serving on the New Hanover County Planning Board for 16 years and as chair of the board twice; as the government affairs director for Cape Fear Realtors and as the executive director of the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association; and as the Founder and CEO of BASE (Business Alliance for a Sound Economy). 

She has been recognized for her community service many times, including being named as a 2008 Cape Fear Woman of Achievement nominee, and an “Influencer” and one of 10 “Women in High Places” by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s WilmingtonBiz 100. She is a recipient of the 2007 Elderhaus Community Service Excellence in Profession Award and has been a WILMA mentor for the Women to Watch initiative for the last five years.

Donna is a member of the UNCW Master’s in Public Administration Advisory Board, has served on the NC DENR Business & Industry Environmental Roundtable and has also served as a board member for the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.