As an undergraduate in 1977, West Lafayette was a world away from Alaska, both geographically and culturally. Purdue proved to me that I could thrive outside of my home state in a diverse and academically rigorous environment.
Robert W. Cowgill
AS '80, Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology; BS ’81, Aviation Technology; MS ’13, Aviation Management

Robert W. Cowgill

AS '80, Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology; BS ’81, Aviation Technology; MS ’13, Aviation Management

Despite the long distance from his childhood home in Alaska, Bob Cowgill says his choice to attend Purdue was easy to make. He credits the school’s solid reputation and variety of his coursework for opening countless doors, both in and outside the aviation industry.

“My undergraduate degree in Aircraft Maintenance coupled with an unusual concentration in air transport economics was the impetus for my consulting career as an aircraft appraiser, where I use my technical background to inspect aircraft.“

Soon after completing his bachelor’s, Cowgill entered the aviation industry as a flight instructor; advancing to commercial pilot and community college administrator. He rose to the rank of captain at American Airlines while also continuing his education in and outside the classroom.

In his current work as an aviation consultant, Cowgill works with clients and industry sources to establish values and advise on market conditions for corporate and commercial aircraft. He is among a select group of individuals qualified to serve as the lead researcher of the Airliner Price Guide, widely used as an authoritative reference in the aviation industry.

Cowgill’s broad academic background and robust field experience helped him obtain the designation of senior appraiser for both the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT). As a senior member of ISTAT, Cowgill has been a champion for Purdue, helping the university secure student scholarship funding and an institutional membership. He

was also an active member of Purdue’s Advancing Aviation Steering Committee during the Campaign for Purdue from 2000-2007.

After a distinguished career of nearly 40 years, Cowgill says he is preparing for his “next act”: retirement. “Retirement from the airline is mandatory at 65, so I’ll have time to devote to whatever interests me. I will likely continue in the aircraft appraisal field, but I have also been considering getting a doctorate for the purpose of teaching at the college level.”

Cowgill lives in Amissville, Virginia, with his wife, Catherine. They have two grown daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel.