Wichita Aero Club's Ashley Bowen Cook to Begin Term as Board Chair at Annual Trophy Gala
Wichita Aero Club announces it will inaugurate a new board chairman, Ashley Bowen Cook — the first female to lead the aviation industry organization — when it hosts its 11th WAC Trophy Gala on Jan. 29, 2022. She succeeds John O’Leary, vice president and general manager of Airbus Americas Engineering, as chairman. As immediate past chairman, Mr. O’Leary will remain an active member of the WAC board and will serve as head of its Education Committee.
Currently a vice president at Greteman Group in Wichita, Cook brings two decades of professional experience to her new role and nearly two decades of aviation exposure before that. Growing up as the daughter of acclaimed aviation photographer, Paul Bowen, she developed a well-founded appreciation for the aerospace business while still a youngster.
“I was fortunate enough to be welcomed into the industry with open arms by my dad and friends, which sparked my passion for aviation. It’s no surprise that I’m a firm supporter of the Wichita Aero Club’s efforts to develop and equip a new generation of industry leaders who will keep aviation and space as a primary focus of Wichita’s economy and culture,” Cook says.
“By virtue of her upbringing in aviation, Ashley would be an ideal candidate to be the next chairperson of the WAC Board,” says Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club president. “But she brings extensive experience, a great network of industry leaders, and a decade of involvement with the Aero Club as well. She has served as the chair of our WAC Trophy Selection committee, chaired the Gala Planning Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee. When you combine her creativity and business acumen with that background, it’s obvious she is well-prepared to take on the responsibilities of leading the board for the next couple of years.”
Ashley Bowen Cook is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. After interning for three years at Bombardier Learjet as an undergraduate, she joined Bombardier’s fractional ownership operation, Flexjet, in Dallas, TX, upon graduation. She moved to Greteman Group in Wichita in 2003 and advanced through the agency’s ranks as account executive, brand director, and associate vice president to her current role as vice president overseeing business development.
The Wichita Aero Club also announces that Jess Smith has taken over the WICHITA EAGLE’s board seat from Tony Berg and that Frank Craven, a previous board member representing Aviation Week Network, has returned to the board representing Aviowiki, a start-up aviation data firm. All three will assume their new board responsibilities at the organization’s Trophy Gala on Jan. 29, 2022, at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita. The WAC Trophy will be presented to Wichita airline founder and philanthropist, Ron Ryan.
Tickets for the evening event are still available at the Wichita Aero Club website at www.wichitaaero.club or by calling the Aero Club at 316-641-5962.