Elevates Executive Director To President
The Wichita Aero Club (WAC) has elected six new members to its Board of Directors. The group includes three additions and three executives who were elected to replace company representatives who have left the Board. The new members are John Ek, Publisher of the Wichita Business Journal, Sean Weaver, Executive Vice President, Assurance Services at Allen, Gibbs, & Houlik, L.C., and Rod Wilson, Business Development, Goodrich Interiors. Stephanie Harder, Manager of Community Affairs and Internal Communications at Cessna Aircraft Company, Kim Nussbaum, Publisher of The Wichita Eagle, and David Van der Wee, Vice President, Marketing, Business & General Aviation for Pratt & Whitney Canada, were elected to fill slots vacated by previous company representatives. Another Board member, James Hansen, was re-elected after having moved from Pratt & Whitney of Canada to Hawker Beechcraft Corporation.
WAC Chairman Patrick Tuttle (pictured), who is also chief executive officer of ADR, Inc., welcomed the new members. “We are very pleased to add these outstanding community and business leaders to our Board. They represent a wealth of knowledge and exceptional experience upon which we will draw liberally as we continue to grow the Aero Club and expands its presence in the industry and region,” he said. Board members are elected to represent “Founding” member companies which contribute a minimum of $10,000 over a three-year period.
John Ek came to Wichita from Emporia, Kansas in 1985 to work at the Fourth National Bank. He joined the Advertising Department of the Wichita Eagle in 1991and was moved to the Wichita Business Journal as Advertising Director in 1996. He was named publisher in October of 1998.
Sean Weaver joined Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, a CPA and advisory firm, in December of 1998. He was named Executive Vice President, Assurance Services in 2008. A graduate of Illinois State University, he began his career at Deloitte in 1978 before moving to Mega Products in Hutchinson, KS as Chief Financial Officer in 1994. He was a member of the 2005 Leadership Wichita class and also serves on the boards of the Kansas Cosmosphere, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Prairie Dunes Country Club, the Wichita Area Sports Commission and the Visioneering Wichita Steering Committee.
Rodney Wilson represents Goodrich Interiors, formerly Precision Pattern, in Wichita as director of Business Development.
Stephanie Harder (pictured) is a 1994 graduate of Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas with a bachelors degree in business administration and marketing. She spent 15 years at Rainbows United, Inc., a not-for-profit provider of resources and services for families with special needs children, serving as Vice President of Development before joining Cessna in January of 2012 as Manager of Community Relations and Internal Communications.
Kim Nussbaum is president and Publisher of the Wichita Eagle. She has nearly 30 years of newspaper advertising and marketing experience, having worked in newspaper sales positions at two E.W. Scripps Co. and two Gannett Co. newspapers: in her hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas; and in Muskogee, OK; Springfield, MO; and Abilene, TX. She held senior advertising management positions for three years at the Abilene Reporter News before being promoted to publisher in 2007. She joined the Eagle in 2011.
David Van der Wee has an Engineering degree from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He joined Pratt & Whitney Canada in 2006 to direct its Engine Center and manage program operations, moving up to Director of Canadian Manufacturing in 2009 and to his current role as VP of Business and General Aviation Engines in October of 2010.
James Hansen represented Pratt & Whitney Canada on the WAC Board from 2008 until 2011 before leaving to become Regional Sales Director for Hawker Beechcraft’s Special Mission aircraft in the Americas. A graduate of San Jose State University in California, he several management roles at P&W and also served in sales management positions with Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In addition to electing the six directors, the Board also voted to elevate WAC Executive Director Dave Franson (pictured) to the position of President of the organization. Franson, an independent media and communications consultant, helped create the business plan for the Wichita Aero Club and has served as its Executive Director since the Club was founded in October of 2008. He formerly held senior management positions with AlliedSignal, Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, and the National Business Aviation Association. He is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois and holds a Masters degree in Communications from Wichita State University.
The Aero Club was formed in 2008 by a small group of business leaders from Wichita’s major aviation companies. Since then, it has grown to be recognized as an influential aviation business group with high profile speakers and has become a rallying point for the Wichita aviation community. It has influenced the dialogue and has broadened the understanding of many important issues for industry stakeholders, and provides a local and regional networking venue second to none where business, industry, news media, academia and government converge on a monthly basis.