Kirk Shaffer, a native of Bay City, Texas, was reappointed by President Donald Trump and Secretary Elaine Chao as Associate Administrator for Airports on December 17, 2018. He served in this role previously between 2007-2009. Kirk has more than 30 years experience as an entrepreneurial airport executive, advocate, and regulator. He leads more than 500 employees, manages an annual budget of $3.35 billion (which includes an operating budget of about $112 million), and is responsible for the Airport Improvement Program grants, which total around $7 billion annually, as well as two major research programs. He is also responsible for overseeing national airport safety and standards, planning, engineering, environmental processing, financial assistance and compliance programs for more than 3,320 public-use airports nationwide.
Kirk is the author of the Nation's first Letter of Intent securing a Federal funding commitment for an airport capacity project in advance of appropriations, thus inventing an airport infrastructure finance system, which now yields about $7 billion in safety, security, and capacity investment annually. Kirk also created the business-based U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service documentation eliminating bureaucratic requirements and facilitating the first-ever public-private partnership airport/landside international border crossing between Tijuana, Mexico and Otay Mesa, California.
Kirk returns to the FAA from service as the principal for D. Kirk Shaffer, PLLC and as senior counsel at an AmLaw 100 international law firm where he provided strategic policy and planning counsel and consensus building among a variety of aviation stakeholders and clients.
From 1986 to 2004, Kirk served simultaneously in positions as executive assistant to the president, director of properties, and general counsel to the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. In those capacities, he worked on a wide range of environmental, construction, and airport funding issues, especially those related to the FAA's Airport Improvement Program and the National Environmental Policy Act. He also served as chairperson and vice chair of the legal committee for Airports Council International-North America.
Kirk is a veteran of the U.S. Army and is Ranger, airborne, jumpmaster, and air assault qualified. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point; a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin; and a Master of Laws degree from The Judge Advocate General's School of the U.S. Army. He is also a private pilot.
Kirk is a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives and a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, the State of Tennessee, and the State of Texas in addition to numerous Federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
Kirk is married to Dana Brown Shaffer, the Deputy Bureau Chief and Chief of Staff of the Wireless Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission, who is a career member of the Federal Senior Executive Service. His daughter, Leslie Shaffer South, is the Deputy General Counsel of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. His son Jackson is a sophomore majoring in economics at the University of Alabama.