By Kasy Long
Jun 26, 2023
1989 Accounting Alumna
Summertime is a popular season for vacations and adventurous trips. In Indiana, many travelers choose to fly, with most departing from Indianapolis International Airport, owned and operated by the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA).
Flying from Indianapolis is the best way to travel, according to Indiana State alumna Marsha Stone Wurster, ‘89. The accounting alumna has worked at the Indianapolis Airport Authority since 1994 and now serves as senior director of commercial enterprise.
Wurster was a first-generation college student and is a lifelong Hoosier. Growing up on a farm, she always enjoyed math and knew she wanted to pursue a college education. While studying at Indiana State, Wurster learned about public accounting, auditing, data analytics in accounting, finance, and taxation, as well as critical thinking, leadership, and interpersonal communication skills.
“Indiana State introduced me to so many opportunities to engage and lead. The University provided the foundation for me to learn more about leading teams and public service,” Wurster says.
As a student, Wurster originally pursued an interest in public accounting, which was the best way to begin a career and gain exposure to many industries, the Sycamore explained. She developed a well-rounded mindset for learning, which has benefitted her throughout her professional career.
Though she had always been intrigued by travel, airplanes, and aviation, Wurster’s career shifted when she pursued an interest in working at the IAA. Now, nearly 30 years later, Wurster is a seasoned professional at the airport authority, where she proposes business models, negotiates leases, drives revenue, and helps the IAA gain global exposure while driving economic impact and serving the citizens of central Indiana.
Wurster explains that her responsibilities have evolved over the years, and she says each responsibility has shaped her into the professional she is today. Rather than counting money, Wurster says she now enjoys creating opportunities to bring in revenue while serving passengers traveling through Indiana.
“My job is different today than it was nearly 30 years ago, and that’s exciting. It’s fun to be a part of something bigger, as I’m not only growing in my career but also helping the Indianapolis Airport Authority grow to support our community’s thriving economy,” she says.
For the eleventh straight year, the Indianapolis International Airport has been named the Best Airport in North America by the Airports Council International. This designation is based on check-in procedures, cleanliness, navigation, security, and shopping and dining options. As Wurster acknowledged, the airport is a “city within a city” in Indianapolis.
The airport, handling approximately 134 daily flights, features 26 restaurants and cafes, highlighting local favorites Harry & Izzy’s, Ben’s Soft Pretzels, Bub’s Burgers, Hot Box Pizza, Indiana Pacers Courtside Club, Just Pop In, and The Farmers’ Market (featuring food and products grown, produced, and packaged in Indiana), among other popular selections such as Shake Shack; 18 shops, including FAO Schwarz, Fountain Square Market, iStore, MAC, Natalie’s Candy Jar, Vineyard Vines, and others; and assorted visitor services, including free WiFi and charging ports, ATMs, lounge, and other amenities.
“The airport is the first and last impression of Indiana for travelers. We serve the state, our companies, and we’re promoting the strength of Indiana to all who visit us, even if they never leave the airport as they wait for another flight. They’re here in Indiana, and we want to enhance their experience,” Wurster explains.
“Along with our team at the Indianapolis Airport Authority, we’re making Indiana better,” she adds.
As a professional, Wurster is eager to share her knowledge with students, including Sycamores at Indiana State. Many Sycamores, including those in the Scott College of Business, serve internships with the IAA, which provide opportunities for them to learn more about the ins and outs of managing an airport. From human resources to marketing, accounting, engineering, public safety, and airport operations, students witness a side of the airport passengers do not see when they’re hurrying to catch a flight.
“It’s an exciting environment. Once this thrill is in your bloodstream, watch out. It’s there to stay,” Wurster says.
Wurster encourages students to find their passion. To engage in activities beyond their education. To build a well-rounded resume and behave as a leader.
“Demonstrate your leadership and have pride in your work. Look for ways to make a difference in your community,” she advises.
Looking to the future, Wurster still has more work to complete, including attracting more airlines and flights to the IAA, securing additional economic development opportunities, introducing more shops and restaurants at the airport, and looking for more creative ways to promote Indiana to travelers and elevate their experience while traveling through the state. She’s taking flight, soaring toward new goals, and making a difference along the way. Because real game-changers wear BLUE!