Oklahoma Aeronautics Director Victor Bird retires, lauded for strong aviation legacy, flourishing airports

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Victor Bird (Photo from Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission website)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Victor Bird, the State Director of Aeronautics, has retired, leaving behind a lauded legacy of aviation leadership.

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) accepted Bird’s retirement on Wednesday, according to an OAC news release.

“As Governor Stitt’s transportation secretary, I want to congratulate Vic on a lifetime of service to the State of Oklahoma and thank him for bringing a vision and energy to the Aeronautics Commission at a critical time in its history,” Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said. “Vic is a nationally respected leader in the aerospace sector and his expertise and advocacy have helped grow the industry and ensure that Oklahoma has a long-term plan for keeping our air transportation system safe and effective.” 

Bird served as the OAC’s director since December 2002. He has been a public servant in Oklahoma for 36 years, according to the news release.

He emphasized promotion of the aerospace industry, one of the state’s largest industries and employers, during his 18-year OAC tenure, the news release states.

Bird was also a strong proponent of the following initiatives:

  • Critical planning and development for the state’s air transportation system;
  • Upgrading as many of the state’s 49 regional business airports as possible to be jet-capable;
  • Encouraging public-private partnerships to promote the aerospace industry.

The OAC invested $71 million in state funds and directed $189 million in federal funds into airport infrastructure statewide while under Bird’s leadership, according to the news release.

Bird’s public service career begin in 1983 under Mike Turpen in the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. He went on to work at Oklahoma State University, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and again in the Attorney General’s Office under two different attorneys general.

He was new to aviation and aerospace when he became director of the OAC in 2002.

“Although he was a newcomer to aviation and aerospace, he saw the amazing opportunities to help foster and grow the industry and immediately put his knowledge and connections within state government to work,” the news release states.

Some key highlights from Bird’s time as OAC Director include forming the Governor’s Aerospace Task Force in 2004 and the Aerospace Development Act of 2008.

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