Pontiac, Michigan – The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame will induct J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County’s director of central services who oversees the county’s three airports, into its 2017 class of honorees. The hall of fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to aviation. VanderVeen is the longest-serving, accredited airport executive in the United States.
“Oakland County International Airport (OCIA) is Michigan’s second busiest airport and a leader in aviation because of Dave VanderVeen,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “Those who travel in Michigan aviation circles are aware of the significant impact Dave’s had on the industry.”
Previous inductees have included flying pioneer Charles Lindbergh; World War I ace Edward V. Rickenbacker; astronauts Jerry Linenger, Jack Lousma, and Roger
Chaffee; late broadcaster and World War II pilot Sonny Eliot; and Henry and Edsel Ford.
“It’s more than humbling to think I will be listed among such aviation giants,” VanderVeen said, “But I’m not asking for a recount.”
Among VanderVeen’s accomplishments at OCIA are:
- Constructing the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified general aviation terminal in the country. Features such as wind, solar and geothermal energy; advanced insulation; LED lighting; a living wall; and other energy efficiencies helped reduce its energy consumption by 45 percent.
- Installing the first fuel-water separator at a Michigan airport to protect five watersheds.
- Building the world’s first aesthetic ground run-up enclosure.
- Hosting Michigan’s first business aviation expo.
Other airport accomplishments under VanderVeen include an aggressive campaign to beautify the airport that captured three Keep Michigan Beautiful Awards in 1999, 2002 and 2011; extending the main runway 320 feet from 6,200 feet to 6,520 feet allowing large aircraft to take off from Waterford and reach any destination in the world without refueling; instituting a parallel runway system; never having to close the airport due to snow; and opening full-time U.S. Customs service for international flights.
VanderVeen, a private pilot, sits on the Michigan Aeronautics Commission which encourages, fosters and participates in the development of aeronautics within Michigan and creates rules and regulations for airports, flight schools, and other aeronautics activities. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him to the body in 2011. He served as chairman from 2013-2014. VanderVeen is also a longtime member and on the board of directors of the Michigan Business Aircraft Association. He lives in Clarkston with his wife, Shelagh.
The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame will honor VanderVeen and four others on Saturday, May 13 at the Air Zoo in Portage, Mich. The other inductees are Gen. John Piotrowski, combat pilot and vice chief-commander of NORAD; James DeVoss, combat pilot; Cyrus Bettis, WWI and air racing pilot; and James Ramsey, aviation executive.
About Oakland County International Airport
Oakland County International Airport (OCIA), Michigan’s second busiest airport, is a pioneer and innovator in aviation. Its history since its opening in 1928 is an account of firsts. OCIA was the first airport in the nation to be certified by the federal government, the first in the United States to earn an A-1-A rating, and the site of Michigan’s first Air Tour. Oakland County acquired the airport in February of 1967. More than a half-million passengers and pilots and virtually all of the Fortune 500 companies pass through it annually. OCIA, which houses well over 500 aircraft, has a $175 million economic impact on Southeast Michigan. To learn more, go to OakGov.com/Aviation.
About the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame
Established in 1987, the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of outstanding air and space pioneers. Gilbert Cargill, William E. Gehman, Warren M. Hoyt, Herbert E. Swan and Jim Greshel founded the organization as a non-profit corporation. Michigan has made major contributions to aviation history. Since the days of the first flight, many individuals with deep Michigan roots have made aviation their life’s work, while others have given their time, talent, energies, and insight. While the scope of their contributions varies, many of them are exemplary, and some have even changed the world. There is no competitive evaluation made of the importance of one achievement against another. Each pioneer is honored for the specific contributions he or she has made to the advancement of aviation and space. The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame is located inside the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. For more information, go to AirZoo.org.
For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.