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David Powell named College of Aviation dean

July 1, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Following a nationwide search, David M. Powell has been named the new dean of the Western Michigan University College of Aviation, effective today.

Powell, whose appointment is subject to approval by the WMU Board of Trustees, has been serving in the position on an interim basis since late last summer. He replaces Rick Maloney, who left the college in August 2007 to become president and chief executive officer of Pentastar Aviation, based in Waterford, Mich.

"We looked at candidates from around the nation to lead this high-profile college," says Dr. Bassam Harik, WMU's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. "In the final analysis, it became clear that the college was already in the hands of a superb administrator who is thoroughly familiar with every aspect of the programs and has the confidence and enthusiastic backing of the college's faculty, staff and students as well as that of the community. Under his leadership, the college will continue its forward progress without missing a beat."

Powell who joined the college in 2003 as director of operations and assistant dean in the college, came to WMU from United's Miami and San Francisco flight operations facilities, where he has served as chief pilot since 1999. In that capacity, he was responsible for all aspects of flight operations at those two locations, including safety of flight qualification for up to 1,650 line pilots. Prior to that, he served from 1996 to 1999 as flight manager at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, where he managed daily flight operations for United's largest hub.

A member of the United team starting in 1986, Powell also served the airline as a line pilot and captain. In addition, as a pilot instructor for the airline, he was the first instructor selected for the rollout of the Airbus fleet, and he developed training materials for that fleet and for a basic first officers' course for all new United pilots.

Before launching his commercial aviation career, Powell, who is an Arizona State University graduate, served in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years, with 10 years logged in as a senior pilot, aircraft commander, instructor and flight examiner.

"I am just so proud and terribly excited to be leading this wonderful group of people--faculty, staff and students--and to continue to lead this college." Powell says. "We've been able to blend the experience of industry professionals with the wonderful work of our faculty and staff to build a program that competes easily with the best flight schools in the country. People in industry tell us we're producing the best pilots in the nation, and we're going to do some wonderful things in the coming years."

WMU's College of Aviation has educated aviation professionals since 1939 and offers complete academic degree programs leading to a bachelor's degree in three areas--aviation flight science, aviation management and maintenance technology. The college enrolls more than 700 students and is home to the Sky Broncos, a precision flight team that has been among the top three in national competition for 17 consecutive years. For more information, visit www.wmich.edu/aviation.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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