Blackwell Oklahoma’s Joe Harris (shown at right) has been selected chairman of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission for fiscal year 2014. He succeeds Dr. David Conway of Durant whose term as chairman recently ended.
Harris, who previously served as chairman in 2008-09, will lead the seven-member board that is responsible for encouraging, fostering and assisting in the development of aviation in Oklahoma. This includes the preservation and improvement of the Oklahoma Airport System and promotion of the state’s top employer—the aerospace industry.
“I appreciate my colleagues’ confidence in me to serve in this important capacity throughout the next year,” Harris said. “Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace industry is so critical to our state’s economic vitality; therefore, it is equally critical that our Commission provides a clear leadership role to ensure the industry is growing and remains viable for decades to come.”
Other newly elected officers are Vice Chairman Dave Amis III of Oklahoma City, the longest serving commissioner among the current members, and Secretary Michael Ray of Guymon.
The remaining members of the Commission include Conway, Rick Armstrong of Tulsa, Tom Stephenson of Oklahoma City and Wes Stucky of Ardmore.
Harris has been general manager and chief executive officer of Kay Electric Cooperative for the past 25 years. Prior to his work for the electric cooperative, he served as director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives from 1984 to 1989. He also served as assistant director for the Public Utility Division and director of Energy Conservation Services Division for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission from 1981 to 1984.
Harris’ past professional affiliations included serving as chairman of the board for the National Information Solutions Cooperative in St. Charles, Mo., and director of the Energy Co-Opportunity, Inc. Board of Directors in Washington, D.C. He also served for 10 years as chairman of the Blackwell-Tonkawa Airport Trust Authority and as a member of the Authority for 16 years. He is an active member of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association and Antique Airplane Association.
A licensed pilot for 37 years, Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and industrial arts from East Central University in Ada.
Dave Amis III
A licensed pilot with commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings, Amis has been involved in the aviation industry for 24 years. He is currently involved with several aviation-related entities, including Northrop Grumman Corporation. He also runs his own aviation sales and consulting firm, Vector Air, Inc.
Amis previously held executive positions with Aero Design, Inc., an aviation-related firm located in Oklahoma City. He also served as president and chief executive officer for the Downtown Airpark in Oklahoma City. In addition, he was director and executive vice president of Amis Construction Company, a four-generation, family-owned heavy highway construction business.
During his first two terms on the Commission, Amis was named chairman twice, including most recently in FY 2006. In addition, he previously served as a member of the legislative committee for the National Business Aviation Association, a national organization representing the business aviation community.
Amis is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology.
A private pilot with an instrument rating, Ray founded Nutrition Physiology Co. in 1994. The company is a world leader in the development and marketing of microbial feed additives for livestock. He also owns 5R Farms and Livestock, a commercial farming and livestock operation located in Texas County. Currently, he is a partner in both a ranching operation in Nebraska and a trucking company based out of Kansas.
Ray is a 2010 graduate of the Oklahoma Agriculture Leadership Program and is a Guymon School Board member, and was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma State School Board Association. He belongs to several professional organizations including the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, National Cattlemen’s Association and the Professional Animal Science Society. In addition, he is heavily involved with various civic groups such as Guymon Kid’s Inc. and is a member of the Guymon Church of the Nazarene.
A 1981 graduate of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science, Ray received the Animal Science Distinguished Service Award from Oklahoma State University in 2010.
Oklahoma’s Aviation and Aerospace Industry
Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace industry is one of the state’s largest employers, resulting in approximately 144,000 jobs statewide. The industry yields an annual industrial output of $12.5 billion and generates an annual payroll of $5 billion. One in 11 Oklahomans derive their income from the aviation and aerospace industry with an average salary of nearly $60,000 compared to approximately $37,000 for the average Oklahoman.
Oklahoma is also one of seven centers in the world for the modification, maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, boasting the world’s largest military aircraft repair facility, Tinker Air Force Base, and the world’s largest commercial aircraft repair facility, the American Airlines Engineering Maintenance and Engineering Center in Tulsa
In addition, Oklahoma has 110 publicly owned airports, placing it 10th nationally for the number of public airports per capita. A total of 43 of those airports boast jet-capable runways.