With his feet planted firmly on the ground, Scott Niswonger has had his head in the clouds for over 30 years with a lifelong career in the flying business. A Purdue aviation technology grad, he also graduated from Tusculum College with a B.S. in business administration and is an alum of the United Airlines Training Academy.
In addition, he is a certified airline transport pilot, and is type rated in CD-3/C-47, Cessna Citation II, V, Ultra, 560 Excel and Gulfstream IV-SP jet aircraft. He underwent Flying Tigers simulator and flight training on a Boeing 747, graduated from Fairchild Aircraft Factory School, and took Flight Safety International courses in high altitude meteorology and flight characteristics of high-speed aircraft.
His civic and community involvement is extensive, on the boards of several banks, foundations, and philanthropic and service organizations. Special recognitions include Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year, Coopers & Lybrand Entrepreneurial Company of the Year, Forbes' "Best 200 Small Companies" four consecutive years, Inc. 500's "America's Fasting Growing Private Companies" three years in a row, and many others. Governor Don Sundquist appointed him vice-chairman, Tennessee Board for Economic Growth, and he is chairman, Building and Finance Committee, for the State of Tennessee.
Purdue University is no exception to his philanthropic interests. His dedication and support of AT are numerous. In 1998, he established the Niswonger Scholarship program. The Holleman-Niswonger Simulator Center was dedicated in 1999.
Niswonger and his wife, Nikki, live at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Greeneville, Tennessee. They have four children and two grandchildren. Scott enjoys flying his Gulfstream IV-SP and golfing when time permits.
This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2003.