Life has risks. Major airport infrastructure investments have more than most if you do not do smart things. Add complexity and you have challenges that make success a real gamble. This is the short story of lessons learned, combined with luck and smart actions by a cohesive, forward-looking Atlanta team that built the impossible fifth runway at the world’s busiest airport. The story illustrates how “the most important runway in America” 1 was planned, approved, designed and built at a cost of more than $1.2 billion (Hartsfield-Jackson 2013). We, the airport’s senior leadership team, learned that stakeholder management, smart negotiations, and execution under conditions of uncertainty are essential tools for those who would undertake huge public project challenges.