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Charles chosen to head aviation unit at ASU

July 27, 2007
MESA, Ariz. — Arizona State University announces the appointment of Richard Charles as chair of the Department of Aeronautical Management Technology in the College of Technology and Innovation, replacing William McCurry who is returning to the faculty, effective immediately.

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,” said Charles. “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 twenty-first century.” 

Charles has more than 30 years experience in the aviation industry. He started his career with the United States Air Force during the Viet Nam 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 said.

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.”

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, master’s degree in transportation economics, and his Ph.D. in political science all from Georgia State University.