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Chairman's Award
2015 Recipient

Gary Ness

Ness served as executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission for 23 years beginning in 1986. During that time he also served as a member of the UGPTI's advisory council. His insight and advice helped guide the UGPTI during a time of dramatic growth in its research program. That growth helped UGPTI develop research to help not only aviation, but all modes of transportation serve the people and industries of North Dakota, the region, and the nation.

At the Aeronautics Commission, Ness oversaw management of the agency, licensing and regulation of aerial applicators, and registration of aircraft. He focused on providing economic and technical assistance to ensure an orderly and cost-effective support system that enabled the advancement of the state's aviation system, particularly in the area of state-of-the-art technology. He encouraged a business climate that fostered a positive evolution of the aviation industry. Ness also developed close relationships with state and federal aviation agencies and organizations to enhance aviation in North Dakota.

Ness grew up in Walhalla and Lisbon, ND, and graduated from Lisbon High School, North Dakota State School of Science and North Dakota State University. His family's aerial application business and growing up around airports fostered Ness's love of aviation.

In the Navy, he was designated a naval aviator and during his last two years in the service he was a flight instructor in air-to-air gunnery and carrier qualification. After his service in the Navy, he worked for the Federal Land Bank Association of Grand forks as a loan officer and assistant manager. He was then vice president of commercial lending for First Federal Savings and Loan Association. In the six years prior to joining the Aeronautics Commission, he was the territory sales manager for AGSCO farm chemical company, serving the 11 counties in northeast North Dakota.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050