Philip J. Akers

Nov. 24, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has dedicated a conference room in Washington, D.C., to remember the leadership and career contributions made by a Spartan Engineer.

The late Philip J. Akers (BS Mech Egr '65) was honored Sept. 10, 2014, at ceremonies in the FAA offices in the nation’s capital to recognize his 35 years with the Department of Transportation in Aircraft Certification Services.

Akers, who died in May 20, 2014, at the age of 71, graduated from MSU in 1965 with a mechanical engineering degree.

His daughter, Coleen Akers Krause, said her father will be remembered for “having made leaps and bounds in FAA aviation safety through aircraft certification.

“His engineering background made airlines more safe and his parts certification project is still in effect today,” she noted.

Akers graduated from Brother Rice High School in Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from MSU. He became a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, where he flew C130 airplanes in Vietnam. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel Reserve in 2003.

Akers lived in the Washington, D.C./Alexandria area for more than 30 years.  He was a member of the Daingerfield Sailing Club and Washington Sailing Marina and owned two boats, the Panacea and Split Decision. A comrade award named for Akers has been established in his honor will be presented for the first time at the end of this year's sailing season.

"I'm so proud to be my dad's daughter because of the impact he had on many people's lives, both in his professional and his personal life,” Akers Krause said. “He knew how to bring people together and was a good teacher and explorer,” she added.

During his retirement party on Jan. 2, 2004, Akers said: "I have a good feeling about my contribution to aviation safety.” He attributed his accomplishments to working with aircraft manufacturers and aviation stakeholders to improve safety management system, developing safety standards and through overseeing design and certification programs. 

He is survived his brother, Paul Akers of Glenview, Ill.; three daughters, Veronica Toton, Bernadine (Bunny) Schott and Coleen Krause, all of Illinois.