Wensveen named Aviation Technology department head

John Wensveen, Ph.D., has been appointed professor and head of the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue University. He will begin his new duties July 1, 2014.

Wensveen comes to Purdue from Mango Aviation Partners, where he is executive vice president for airline start-ups. His 25-year career has included positions in higher education, aviation consulting, airlines, and project management.

“I have great confidence in John’s abilities to lead the Department of Aviation Technology in this time of transformation for the college,” said Gary Bertoline, dean. “His extensive background and leadership roles are a great complement to our program, and his vision will help create more opportunities for our students, research endeavors and programs.”

Wensveen served as dean of the School of Aviation at Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y., from 2008 to 2010. During his tenure, he expanded industry partnerships, alumni support and enrollment. As president of Airline Visions LLC, from 2005 to the present, he worked with airline start-ups around the world on business plan development and worked on strategic plan development with existing air carriers.

“I have witnessed first-hand the ups and downs of both the aviation industry and aviation higher education; I am constantly stimulated by the related challenges,” Wensveen said. “I’m inspired by young people pursuing an education and career. At Purdue, I will have an opportunity to pass along my experiences and be a driving force in molding the next generation of aviation leaders. Because of a large number of looming retirements in the industry, we have an opportunity to position our graduates as the aviation leaders of tomorrow. We want Purdue to be the source of choice for aviation employers.”

Wensveen’s career also has included positions as global head of airline advisory services at Radixx International, executive consultant for Intervistas-GA2 Consulting, senior director of new business planning for Marriott Vacation Club International, vice president for international affairs for MAXjet Airways, assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and director of strategy and corporate communications for Corporate Visions.

He earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in business/air transportation management from Cardiff University, United Kingdom, and a bachelor’s degree in geography/planning from the University of Victoria, Canada.

The Department of Aviation Technology has about 27 faculty members and enrolls more than 550 undergraduates on campus and 84 graduate students in its campus and online programs. Research funding has grown tremendously over the last few years with faculty involved in three centers: Advanced Aviation Analytics Institute for Research, Air Transport Institute for Environmental Sustainability, and Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS).