Lester Sola is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. He oversees operations at Miami International Airport (MIA) and four general aviation (GA) airports in the Miami area, which together generate $31.9 billion in business revenue and support more than 275,000 direct and indirect jobs. MIA leads the way, handling more than 46 million passengers and more than two million tons of cargo annually, placing it among America’s busiest international passenger and cargo airports.
Mr. Sola has served Miami-Dade County for more than 26 years, most recently as Director of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department. As Director of the largest utility in the southeastern United States, Mr. Sola was responsible for: providing high-quality drinking water and wastewater disposal services to more than 2.3 million residents, businesses and visitors daily; managing more than 2,700 employees and an annual operating budget of $796 million; and leading the largest capital improvement program in Miami-Dade County’s history. During Mr. Sola’s tenure at the department from 2015 to 2017, nearly 1,000 projects worth more than $1.1 billion were completed.
During the next 15-20 years, the multi-billion-dollar program to upgrade the County’s entire water and sewer infrastructure will include certification of 63 pump stations out of moratorium, allowing for community growth and economic development. The Department has approximately 900 additional projects in varying stages of progress.
Prior to his appointment to the Water and Sewer Department, Mr. Sola had been the Director of the Internal Services Department (ISD) since October of 2011. ISD is responsible for Miami-Dade County’s procurement of goods and services, small business development, architectural and engineering selection services, capital improvement programs, design and construction services, facilities and fleet management, risk management, parking operations, printing and graphics services, surplus asset disposal and capital inventory oversight. Mr. Sola managed an operating budget of $370 million, capital projects totaling over $400 million, and over 850 employees.
Mr. Sola began his career with Miami-Dade County government in 1992 as a member of the County Manager Management Training Program. He has held several high-level positions including: Contract Coordination Officer in the County Executive Manager’s Office; Architectural and Engineering Consultant Coordinator for the County Executive Manager’s Office; Assistant to the County Manager; Associate Director for the Aviation Department; Deputy Director for the Department of Business Development; Supervisor of Elections; and Director of the Internal Services Department.
During his more than two decades of public service, Mr. Sola has been responsible for: the reorganization of several County departments; coordination and refocusing of the capital program at Miami International Airport; the establishment of small and minority-based programs for the procurement of goods and services; establishment of centralized systems for the tracking of County capital expansion programs and professional services; and the provision of management direction to County departments, management agreements and agencies such as Aviation, Seaport, Beacon Council, Performing Arts Center and the American Airlines Arena.
Mr. Sola has a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in public administration, with a minor in organizational psychology from Florida International University.