William Rankin

Professor | College of Aeronautics

Contact Information

Educational Background

Ph.D. Northcentral University, Core studies in Business Administration with a specialization in Aviation/Aerospace Management.

M.A.S. Degree in Aeronautical Sciences, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide Campus.

B.S. Degree in Aviation Management, Middle Tennessee State University.

Professional Experience

Dr. Rankin joined FIT in 2013 as an Associate Professor, and in August of 2020 he was promoted to the rank of Professor. Prior to 2013 he was a Professor of Aviation Management and Chair of the Department of Aviation at the University of Central Missouri for 7 years. He also served as an Assistant Professor of Aviation at Florida Memorial University in Miami, Florida and Deputy Director of Aviation at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. He joined the Broward County Aviation Department (BCAD) in 1998, overseeing airport operations, maintenance, planning and development sections of BCAD. He has 29 years of airport management experience including the Director of Aviation at the El Paso International Airport, Texas; Manager of the Operations Division, Washington National Airport, Washington, DC; Director of the Eastern Iowa Regional Airport, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Manager of Smith-Reynolds Airport, Winston-Salem, NC.


Research Interests

I am actively pursuing research on the concept of Multi-Airport Logistics Systems and aviation security. As an Ambassador to NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratories, I also feel compelled to research the future of space flight and the future of colonizing the Moon and Mars.

Teaching and Advising Activity

As a Professor in the COA Dr. Rankin teaches 12 courses directly related to his professional background and education. Upper-division courses include: AVM 5103 Airport Operations (graduate ground and online; required in major), AVS 5206 Aviation Security (graduate online; required in major), AVM 5998 Advanced Aviation Research Project (graduate ground and online capstone), AVM 5199 Advanced Aviation Management Internship (graduate and undergraduate ground), and AVM 5999 Thesis (graduate ground; capstone). Lower-division courses including AVM 3201 Aviation Planning (on-ground), AVM 3303 Transportation Logistics (undergraduate ground; required in major), AVM 3501 Special topics in Aviation Management (on-ground), AVM 4701Airport Management (undergraduate ground and online; required in major), AVS 4304 Aviation Security (undergraduate required in major), and AVM 4501 Air Transportation Management (undergraduate required in the major, beginning Spring 2020). Dr. Rankin also teaches AVM 4701 Airport Management and AVM 3303 Transportation Logistics for the COA at the University of Technology Panama (UTP), Panama City, Panama.

In addition to FIT, Dr. Rankin teaches at the University of Phoenix (UOP), College of Business, both online and on-ground. At UOP he is certified as an Advanced Online Facilitator Certification with a specialization in adult education. Courses taught at UOP include Strategic Management, Operations Management, and Business Seminar.

Scholarly Activity

Dr. Rankin’s scholarly activity includes over 20 refereed journal publications, one book; two chapters in a book, and numerous refereed and non-refereed presentations, including other creative works. These scholarly works have been cited in Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, and North America (U.S. and Canada).

His areas of significant research focus on Multi-Airport Logistics Systems (MLS). This research compares the performance of cargo and passengers transport modes in the U.S. MLSs. His other research focuses on terrorist attacks affecting airports and airlines, and runway incursions in the U.S. airports system.

Professional Development Activity

In March 2019, Dr. Rankin was invited to Chair the Second Annual Airports Facilities Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. At this conference he led a workshop on preparing airports for terrorist threats. This conference promoted Dr. Rankin as a recognized expert in the field of airport security and promoted Florida Tech internationally. Dr. Rankin has also served as an airport management expert witness for several law firms and has testified in numerous airport litigation actions. These include:

  • Thomas E. Shultz; Sally Shultz v. City of Los Angeles. Parker Airport Leasing, Parker Aero Development; American Airports Corp. - Cunningham and Swaim, LLP, - (Pasadena, CA).
  • David G, Hata v. NYNJ Port Authority, MSN Air Services Inc, and LOT Polish Airlines – Mahoney and Keane LLP – (New York, NY).
  • Patrick Shultz and Jessica Shultz v. Allanton Landing LLC, Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc; Race Foster - Vernis & Bowling of Northwest Florida, P.A. - (Pensacola, FL) and Murry, Morin, and Herman, PA – (Tampa, FL)
  • Gayle Burch v. Town of Pierson, Florida – Lewis Legal Group PA – (Plantation, FL).
  • City of Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport - Ulmer & Berne LLP,  - (Cleveland, OH)

Service Activity

Dr. Rankin has a well-respected history of working collaboratively with colleagues in improving the COA and university. He is an Executive Emeritus of the American Association of Airport Executives and has exceptional status outside of the University, including service to both national and international accreditation boards, national and international journals, and serves as an ambassador for NASA, JPL, and Northcentral University. In all these pursuits, his service and participation, especially as a peer reviewer, have exposed him to new developments within the education and industry fields, which provides him the opportunity to keep his courses current and to share new industry insights and developments with his students at Florida Tech.