NBAA Convention News

Doswell Award: Van Gemert reaps lifetime honor; cited for commitment to excellence

 - October 14, 2009, 10:33 AM

NBAA’s board of directors has named industry stalwart Richard (Dick) Van Gemert, a current Jet Aviation Holdings US executive and long-time head of Xerox’s flight department, as this year’s winner of the John P. “Jack” Doswell award, in honor of his commitment to operational excellence in business aviation.

“In 1969, Jack Doswell and I shared offices in White Plains [at Westchester County Airport]. We had many late-night discussions on the future of business aviation and how it would have to be ever-changing to continue to succeed,” Van Gemert told NBAA Convention News. “After 50 years in the industry, this one has been very rewarding–I received the NATA Ong Memorial Award and now the NBAA Doswell award. I just hope that I, too, have been able to help raise the standards of this industry in the same manner that Jack did. If I have been successful, it will be measured in the accomplishments of those that I have had the privilege to work with over the years.”

Van Gemert’s aviation career began in 1960 when he earned his wings as a patrol squadron pilot with the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant. By 1966 he had won the Convair Naval Aviation Award for Excellence, then transitioned to the private sector, joining Xerox’s flight department as a first officer and becoming chief pilot two years later.

Over the next 23 years he was manager of flight operations at Xerox, manager of travel services and finally director of general services. During that time, he received the Ziff-Davis Corporate Pilot of the Year Award for demonstrating leadership in integrating modern management practices into corporate aviation.

Following his retirement from Xerox, Van Gemert joined KC Aviation–later KC Transportation Services–as executive vice president of transportation services. After the sale of that company in 1996, he helped found New World Jet, the private jet management provider, serving as president until 2006, when he joined Jet Aviation.
During his career, Van Gemert has been an active industry advocate and safety proponent, holding leadership and advisory positions with numerous organizations. He was elected to NBAA’s board of directors in 1986 and served as chairman of the association’s management committee and educational foundation. He is also a recipient of NBAA’s 12,000-hour safety award.

He was chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation’s corporate advisory board and served on the International Flight Safety Foundation’s board of governors. Van Gemert also was a member of the National Air Transportation Association’s (NATA) board of directors, its business management committee and, as he mentioned, was this year’s recipient of NATA’s highest honor–the William A. Ong Award for extraordinary achievement and extended meritorious service to the general aviation industry.

Van Gemert has been a member of the Westchester County Airport Committee, a governor of the American Management Association and a member of the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s executive committee.

“Throughout Dick’s career, he has pushed himself and those around him to achieve high standards for safety and operational performance,” said NBAA president Ed Bolen.