SCOTT M. NISWONGER
Inducted November 2, 2019
Scott Niswonger learned to fly as a teenager, soloing on his sixteenth birthday. During his aviation career, he has flown many aircraft, ranging from a Piper J-3 Cub to the Boeing 747.
Scott graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Aviation Technology and was awarded a Doctorate of Technology Degree in 2004. He also earned a BSBA from Tusculum University in 1986 and was subsequently honored with a Doctorate of Human Letters in 2006. He also holds a Doctorate of Human Letters from both East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee.
After graduating from Purdue, he was employed as a corporate pilot with the Magnavox Company in Greeneville, Tennessee. In 1973, Niswonger started a successful Part 121 cargo airline, General Aviation, Inc. which operated 38 freighters on nightly scheduled service. After selling General Aviation, he became Vice- President of Operations for Flying Tiger Lines – a military contractor and global cargo airline. He later co-founded Landair Services which was taken public in 1993, and in 1990 he formed Forward Air Corporation(FWRD), which remains a publicly traded company. He serves as a member of the Purdue University President’s Council, Dean’s Council for Purdue University Polytechnic Institute, is a Board Member for the Purdue Research Foundation and Chairman of Purdue Aviation, LLC.
In 2001 he founded the Niswonger Educational Foundation to create opportunities for individual and regional growth through educational programs, scholarships, and other charitable activities. This educational foundation currently has 20 scholars in college and 71 alumni. The Foundation has an annual budget of more than $5 million and has invested more than $70 million in rural East Tennessee’s Pre-K through 12 public education system.
Scott is also the lead benefactor for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City which is home to one of only eight St. Jude Affiliate Clinics in the world.
Mr. Niswonger is a distinguished and successful businessman, aviator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is a staunch advocate and supporter for aviation. Scott’s current aviation interest consists of a charter operation with worldwide authority, an FBO, a Part 141 flight school Part 145 maintenance center and a combination of 16 single engine, 2 multi engine and 4 jet aircraft.
For extraordinary achievement and service to aviation for Tennessee, our nation and the world, Scott M. Niswonger is honored by and inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame this 2nd day of November 2019.