William “Bill” Meadows’ public life really has been all about planes, trains and automobiles, and if a movie were made about it comedian Steve Martin might be a decent choice to play him.
But Meadows, who is always quick to share a laugh with colleagues, is all business when it comes to dealing with boards of directors that build large-scale transportation projects.
That’s why the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport board of directors on Thursday unanimously picked the Fort Worth resident as its new chairman.
Meadows will serve in that position for one or two one-year terms.
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Meadows previously has served on the Fort Worth City Council, as well as the boards of the North Texas Tollway Authority and Texas Department of Transportation. He also continues to chair the state’s high-speed rail commission, which is exploring ways to build bullet trains from Dallas to Arlington, Fort Worth, Austin and beyond.
Meadows also is chairman emeritus of HUB International Texas insurance brokerage.
DFW Airport is an enormous operation, with a piece of real estate that has seven runways (and is larger than Manhattan) and an $800 million annual budget — which is more money than most cities have.
Meadows has been an airport board member for four years. The board is made up of appointees from Fort Worth and Dallas and by tradition those two cities, who jointly own the airport, take turns appointing one of their own as chairman.
Meadows succeeds Sam Coats of Dallas.
Among Meadows’ proudest achievements is the completion of Chisholm Trail Parkway, a 28-mile toll road connecting Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to U.S. 67 in Cleburne. The project had been delayed for decades, and Tarrant County officials appointed Meadows to the North Texas Tollway Authority board of directors in 2003 to ensure the project could get done.
The toll road opened in 2014.
Meadows also joined the Texas Department of Transportation board in 2008, during a time when many lawmakers were unhappy with the state’s transportation governance and wanted the agency disbanded. He served there until 2013.
At DFW Airport, Meadows is serving during a time of growth and prosperity. DFW has recently spent hundreds of millions of dollars improving its terminals and is embarking upon a major upgrade for its airfield.
“There’s such a tradition of quality and excellence,” Meadows said in a phone interview. “There’s a quality staff, always good leadership, and they get the job done.”