Introducing Kimberley Minkel, finalist for the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award

The BNP is pleased to introduce you to the finalists who have been selected for the 2021 ATHENA® honors including the ATHENA Leadership Award® and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®.  NEW THIS YEAR, we will also present the ATHENA Organizational Award® to recognize one  for-profitorganization and one non-profitorganization that inspire women in WNY to achieve their full potential. 

We will bring you profiles of each finalist in the weeks ahead, leading up to the awards event. Come back often to read the profiles and you’ll learn what it means to be an Athena. And if you’d like to attend the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon, the region’s most prestigious event dedicated to the professional accomplishments of those who work to advance women, you can get tickets here.

Meet This Week’s ATHENA Leadership Award® Finalist

Executive Director
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority – NFTA 

KimberleMinkel is Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority – NFTA – where she oversees more than 1,500 employees of Metro Bus and Rail, Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Niagara Falls International Airport and related departments. With nearly two decades of experience at the NFTA, Kimberleleads the organization in providing efficient and professional transportation services throughout the Buffalo Niagara region. 

Kimberley’s community involvement includes a wide range of activities including serving on the Board of Directors at the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Niagara Military Affairs Commission, Evans Bank and Niagara University Advisory Board.  She also served on the Board of Directors for Peace Bridge Authority and is a 2007 Graduate of Leadership Buffalo. 

First Job

Kimberley’s first job was in food service at Darien Lake Theme Park. 

Career Highlights

Under Kimberley’s leadership, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport became the first airport in the nation to use wetland treatment technology for treating spent de-icing fluid.  This subsurface engineered wetland treatment system was her project when she worked as the director of health, safety and environmental quality at the NFTA.  The project received numerous awards for its innovative and cost-effective treatment of airport storm water runoff, saving the airport more than $250,000 each year. 

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

It’s not being at the right place at the right time but rather about being prepared when the time arrives. 

Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace

Ask your boss what his/her biggest problem is and then make it go away! 

About being an ATHENA Award® Finalist

“I’m humbled that I would even be considered among so many talented women in our community. Many of these women give so much of their time, talents and treasures to the many worthy causes here in Western New York. I am also very proud to share this with my teenage daughter and hope that this in some small way, it will help inspire her to reach her full potential.” 

On Buffalo Niagara

I enjoy working and living in Buffalo Niagara because of the diversity of the region.  We have varied weather with incredible summers, diverse foods (some of the best in the US) and incredible cultural activities. Whether its major league sports or the arts Buffalo has the variety of a large city but the feel of a small town. 

Favorite Spot in Buffalo

Albright Knox Art Gallery

Lightning Round: Added Insights
  • Guilty Pleasure: Red wine and dark chocolate
  • My Superpower: Teleportation
  • Best Describes Me:  Analytical
  • Most Likely To: Question
  • Best At: Science
  • Most Used Emoji: Winky face


 Attend the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon

The ATHENA Awards® Luncheon is the region’s most prestigious event recognizing the professional accomplishments of exceptional individuals who are dedicated to the advancement of women. Be there when the winners are announced.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Register to Attend Here


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