Will Ris is senior vice president, government affairs, for American Airlines Group and its principal subsidiary company, American Airlines. In this role, he is responsible for global government and regulatory affairs and public policy. Previously, Ris served as senior vice president, government and regulatory affairs, for AMR Corporation and American Airlines.
An attorney with broad experience in government and transportation, Ris has been American Airlines' principal government affairs executive since July 1996. He is responsible for directing all activities on behalf of American with Congress, the administration and a broad range of federal agencies.
Ris joined American in 1996 from the Wexler Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm, where he had been executive vice president. In that capacity, he had represented American as outside counsel for 13 years. Before his association with Wexler, he served as a trial attorney for the United States Civil Aeronautics Board from 1975 to 1978. In 1978, Ris was appointed counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and its Aviation Subcommittee. He served for five years, during which time he was the principal Senate legal counsel for the drafting of both the airline and trucking deregulation bills.
Today, Ris serves as chairman emeritus of the board of directors of the Green Door, Inc., a nationally recognized organization that provides services for chronically mentally ill persons in Washington, D.C. Ris is also a member of the board of governors of Ford's Theater in Washington, a member of the board of directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities and a member of the board of trustees for the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington. He is a long-standing board member of the Advanced Navigation & Positioning Corporation in Hood River, Ore., and chairman of its audit committee.
Ris graduated from Northwestern University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in political science. He received a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1971, a Doctor of Laws from the University of Denver College of Law in 1974 and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University College of Law in 1978.