Will Ris is senior vice president – Government Affairs. He oversees global government and regulatory affairs and public policy. He is responsible for directing all activities on behalf of American with Congress, the administration and a broad range of federal agencies.
American’s principal government affairs executive since July 1996, Ris joined American from the Wexler Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm, where he was executive vice president. In that capacity, he represented American as outside counsel for 13 years. Before his association with Wexler, he served from 1975 to 1978 as a trial attorney for the United States Civil Aeronautics Board. 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 that time, Ris 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. He is 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 degree in political science. He received a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1971, a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1974 and a Master of Laws degree from Georgetown University College of Law in 1978.