case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"The Politics of Airports"

April 8, 2005
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Robert Clarke Brown

Robert Clarke Brown

Member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Capital Markets Advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation


Dear Colleagues:

Airports are real stuff.  A lot of the news and political science about politics focuses on symbolism and arguments about representation and all that.  But whether the local airport is any good is something that matters to us directly, and its future is of great concern to the economic interests in any community.

So airports have politics and that politics matters, even though the average American Politics course does not say much about it.  Airports are also a big business, which means they raise, spend, borrow and invest a whole lot of money.  Their business then becomes part of the politics – and vice versa.

This week’s Friday lunch discussion will be led by someone who has a lot of experience with both the politics and market side of airports.  Robert Clarke Brown worked as a senior investment banker in the transportation finance group at Lehman Brothers, then managed the public finance department for Key Capital Markets, before returning to the public sector as a Capital Markets Advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  He has also been Ohio’s Assistant Director of Transportation and a Senior Counsel to the Committee on Government Operations of the U.S. House of Representatives, among other positions.  The result is that he has a great deal of experience in transportation policy most generally.  But he also is a member, appointed by President Clinton, of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Washington National and Washington Dulles Airports.  He chairs the Board’s Strategic Development Committee, and previously chaired the Board’s Finance Committee as it expanded Dulles Airport and redesigned that expansion program after September 11.

So we’ve asked Bob to come and talk about airports, and the discussion could cover a lot of ground, depending on what people want to raise.  We will gather on Friday, April 8, from 12:30 1:30 p.m. in the Toepfer Room of Adelbert Hall.  Beverages and cookies will be provided.

Best regards,
Joe White

About Our Guest

Robert Clarke Brown, is a consultant and capital markets advisor to the U.S. Department of Transportation. He was previously the Managing Director of Public Finance at Key Capital Markets, the investment banking subsidiary of KeyCorp, a bank holding company based in Cleveland, Ohio, and a senior investment banker at Lehman Brothers. He has served as Ohio’s Assistant Director of Transportation and as counsel to two Congressional investigating committees. He has been a member of the Committee on Finance of the Transportation Research Board and of the Executive Committee of the Municipal Securities Divisions of the Bond Market Association.

Spring 2005 Semester Schedule

April 15: Toepfer Room: Rob Fischer Ph.D., Senior Research Associate at the Center for Urban Poverty in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve: "Testing Faith: What do we know about faith-based social services?."

April 22: Toepfer Room: Robert Walters Ph.D., “Responding to Humanitarian Emergencies – What a Geologist Learned at the State Department.”

Parking: For those people who seek to make special arrangements about parking, the contact person now will be Fay Alexander.  Her phone number is 368-4440, and her e-mail is

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