Russell W. Meyer, Jr. Chairman Emeritus, Cessna Aircraft Company
The Wichita Aero Club presented its fourth annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy to former Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman Russell W. Meyer, Jr. on January 25, 2014 at its annual Trophy Gala. Mr. Meyer was selected by the Club’s Selection Committee from among fifteen nominees.
“The selection of Russ Meyer for this award surprises no one,” noted Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club President. “Russ’s contributions to the aviation industry and to the local community are so numerous and so extensive that it would take a book just to list them. He is, without question, a great choice for the Wichita Aero Club Trophy,” he added.
The citation which accompanied the nomination read:
During his more than 25 years as CEO of Cessna Aircraft, Russ Meyer not only led the company to pre-eminence in the global business jet industry, but his industry leadership has been proclaimed as the most far-reaching and effective in the history of general aviation.
For nearly 40 years Russ Meyer has been “the face” of Wichita’s heralded general aviation industry… and for very good reason. Under his tutelage Cessna Aircraft designed, developed, built and delivered more business jet aircraft, worldwide, than any other global manufacturer. Perhaps even more significantly, his community and industry achievements speak for themselves. Examples: (1) His innovative initiative to establish a training facility on East 21st street for unskilled workers led to jobs and hope for hundreds of Wichitans and their families. (2) His tireless efforts were instrumental in leading to Congress’ enactment of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, which after a decade, re-opened the doors for aircraft manufacturers to effectively produce single engine aircraft, again, creating hundreds of new area jobs.
Mr. Meyer’s well-deserved national awards include: the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the Collier Trophy (twice, once jointly with Cessna), and election to the National Aviation Hall of Fame. A 14,000+ hour pilot, he is type rated in all Cessna products.
A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, Mr. Meyer served as a Marine Corps jet fighter pilot from 1958 – 1961, practiced law in Cleveland for five years, then served as CEO of Grumman American Aviation Corporation from 1966 – 1974, before joining Cessna in 1974, rising to chairman/CEO the following year. He is also the only executive to serve as Chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Associaiton (GAMA) three times.
He was elected into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 and was named Kansan of the Year in 1998. Mr. Meyer and his wife, Helen, have been among Wichita’s most generous philanthropists, leading and donating to causes supporting underprivileged children, education and the arts.
”We are extremely pleased to honor Russ Meyer in this way. He actually received multiple nominations for the WAC Trophy. As one of the nominations said, ‘There is no one in the history of Kansas aviation who has achieved as much for aviation and the community as has Russ Meyer. ’ We know this is one of many awards Russ has received during his extraordinary career, but we’re still looking forward to an exciting and enjoyable event in January when he is officially presented with this recognition from his many friends and neighbors in the Air Capital, ” Franson added.