The Parkland College Foundation recently announced its selection of aviation leader Rudy Frasca as its 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year.
Frasca, founder and former president of Frasca International, will receive the V. Dale Cozad Entrepreneur of the Year Award during Parkland's fourth annual Entrepreneur of the Year Banquet, a fundraiser for the Parkland College Entrepreneurial Program.
The banquet will be held on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.
Born in Melrose Park, Illinois, Frasca began taking flying lessons at age 14 and soloed shortly thereafter. In 1949, he joined the Navy and worked at Glenview Naval Air Station as an instructor, teaching pilots on the early Link trainers.
After the Korean War, he left the Navy to attend the University of Illinois, where he conducted research in Aviation Psychology and honed his interest in the field of flight simulation.
In 1958, Frasca built his first flight simulator at home in his garage and founded Frasca Aviation (later named Frasca International). Today, the company manufactures flight training equipment for airlines, flight schools, and military organizations worldwide. Frasca International has delivered more than 2,500 flight training devices to more than 70 countries.
With more than 65 years of active flying, Rudy Frasca has held every office in the Warbirds of America organization. He has been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) since 1956 and is a founding member of the Sport Aviation Association. He was appointed to the Governor’s Board of Aeronautical Advisors in 2000. He is currently a member of the University Aviation Association (UAA) and the Council on Aviation Accreditation (CAA).
Frasca has earned national, state, and local awards for contributions to the field of aviation, including the UAA President's Award (2002) for lifelong commitment to the collegiate aviation community (only two such awards have been given in the organization's 55-year history). He was inducted into the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Chanute Air Force Base Hall of Fame. He has been recognized by the Warbirds of America for outstanding contributions to the Warbird movement and for excellence in Air Show Flying.
Frasca was named to the Illinois Aviation Honor Roll in 1993; was given the Charles Lindberg award for “Outstanding Contribution – Industry” at the National Magnet School Convention in 1994; and in 1996 received the Governor’s Award for “Continuing Export Excellence” in the state of Illinois.
The Parkland College Entrepreneurial Program is the result of a partnership between the college and community members committed to developing strong, educated leaders for today's workforce. The program provides scholarships to students demonstrating potential for growth as future managers, leaders, and innovators, for immediate entry into District 505 industries and companies.
Ultimately, the Entrepreneurial Program aims to increase the number of graduates with a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence that supports existing industry, creating a more attractive community to future employers.