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Will Ris recently retired after 20 years as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for American Airlines. Ris, an attorney with broad experience in government and transportation, has been American Airlines’ principal government affairs executive since 1996 and responsible for directing all activities on behalf of American with Congress, federal agencies and foreign governments. He was also a member of the executive leadership team of American Airlines which is comprised of the nine most senior officers in the company.
Will joined American after 13 years with the Wexler Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm, where he had been Executive Vice President, representing a large variety of clients. Prior to that, Ris held two posts in the federal government. From 1975 to 1978 he was a trial attorney for the former Civil Aeronautics Board, which regulated the airline industry in the era before deregulation. For the following five years, Ris was counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. During this period, he was the Committee’s principal legal counsel on transportation deregulation legislation.
Will continues as a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the Advanced Navigation & Positioning Corporation in Hood River, Oregon which is an aerospace avionics manufacturer.
Ris graduated from Northwestern University in 1969 with a BA degree in political science. He received an MA degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1971, a JD degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1974, and an LLM degree from Georgetown University College of Law in 1978.