Earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University in 1970.
Formed the Red Devils Aerobatic Team (later renamed the Eagles in 1979) with Charlie Hillard and Gene Soucy and earned a spot on the U. S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Team. In 1972, the trio won the World Aerobatic Team Championship at Salon, France.
Won the 1973 U. S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Championship.
Became Chairman of EAA’s annual Fly-In and Convention at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Under his leadership, the weeklong event turned into aviation’s mecca.
Elected President of the EAA in 1989 where he became a leading advocate for the growth of general aviation, with an ongoing focus on safety, and successfully spearheaded a 10-year effort to create the Sport Pilot license and Light Sport Aircraft.
Created the Young Eagles program in 1992 where pilots volunteered their time and resources to provide youngsters a structured introductory flight in a general aviation airplane. The program flew one-million kids by December 17, 2003, the one-hundredth anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight, and two-million by July of 2016.
Was one of six members on the National Centennial Flight Committee created by Congress to coordinate the nation’s celebration of the Wright Brothers historic first flight.
Promoted to Chairman and President of the EAA when Paul Poberezny (enshrined 1999) stepped down in 2009.