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Charles to head aviation unit


August 03, 2007

Richard Charles will become chair of the Department of Aeronautical Management Technology in the College of Technology and Innovation, replacing William McCurry, who is returning to the faculty.

Charles will lead the faculty and staff to continue growing student enrollment in the flight, management studies and air traffic control programs, as well as in graduate programs.

“This department is already world-class, but not enough people know it,” Charles says. “I envision it becoming a nationally recognized center for aviation teaching and research, and a resource for contributing knowledge for the advancement of civil and military aviation in the 21st century.”

Charles has more than 30 years experience in the aviation industry. He started his career with the Air Force during the Vietnam War. After his time in the military, he worked for Continental Airlines, Aeronautical Radio Inc. (ARINC), and Rockwell International in engineering and marketing. He also held the position of vice president of marketing for Sagem, a French avionics firm.

He moved over to academia, starting at Georgia State University in 1998 as an associate professor and coordinator in aviation and transportation studies, and most recently at Utah State University as an associate professor and director of the aviation program there.
“I decided to go into academia because I felt it would be a far more gratifying and productive way to extend my career by contributing to the industry through research and teaching,” Charles says.

He has his FAA commercial pilots, flight instructor, and ground instructor licenses and certifications, as well as an FCC general class license. He is a member of several aviation and public administration professional organizations and a past member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. His research and articles have been published in transportation and aviation journals and magazines.

His experience in the commercial sector and in academia will help him work with businesses, and his knowledge of marketing and media will all be key to helping him further develop the department, according to Tim Lindquist, interim dean of the College of Technology and Innovation.

“I am confident that Rick’s background and track record in aviation leadership will help us move the department and its programs to the next level,” Lindquist says.

Charles and his wife have relocated from Utah to Gilbert, Ariz., and they have two daughters who live in Atlanta. When he is not leading his new faculty and staff, he likes to ride motorcycles, research, write and play music.

Charles earned his bachelor’s degree in urban studies, his master’s degree in transportation economics, and his doctorate in political science from Georgia State University.