Kansas Director of Aviation Merrill Atwater Is May 5 Luncheon Speaker

April 14, 2016 10:09am

When Merrill E. Atwater addresses the Wichita Aero Club’s luncheon at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport at noon on Thursday, May 5, it will have added significance for the recently appointed Kansas Department of Transportation Director of Aviation. That’s because his middle name is Eisenhower and the airport is named after his great grandfather, the 34th president of the United States.

Atwater, of Basehor, Kansas joined the executive staff of the Kansas Department of Transportation in March. As director, he works with the Federal Aviation Administration and aviation stakeholders across the state and oversee KDOT aviation programs, such as the Kansas Airport Improvement Program.
“Merrill is an outspoken champion for aviation in Kansas. He promotes aviation as an integral part of the state’s overall transportation infrastructure,,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King at the time of his appointment.

Mr. Atwater brings a strong background in sales to position having most recently served as national sales director for Housby, a diversified Des Moines, Iowa, company that comprises Mack and Isuzu truck retail sales, truck maintenance, auctions and more. Over the past decade, he has also been vice president of business development for Bar None Auctions in Sacramento, Calif.; senior executive of development and principal of Global Green Energy Parks of Kansas City, Mo.; and president of new business development for Fox Energy Corp., of Kansas City, Mo.

“I am very excited to be part of KDOT and promote the important role aviation has in the safety and economic well-being of Kansas,” he said. “Using my business background, I will tie the state’s 138 public use airports to the economic deelopment of local communities, regions and the entire state.”

“Ten years ago, as the great-grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Merrill took part in the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. interstate system. His great-grandfather authorized creation of the interstate system in 1956. As part of the anniversary celebration, Atwater participated in a cross-country convoy in the summer of 2006 that included stops in Abilene and Kansas City, Kansas. Now, he’ll get to talk about his great grandfather’s lesser-known exploits and accomplishments as a licensed pilot as he tours the states airports and airways systems. We’re looking forward to hearing from him,” stated Wichita Aero Club President Dave Franson.

Atwater has a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., and is working on a master’s of business administration degree from Baker University in Baldwin City. Mr. Atwater replaces Tiffany Brown who has taken a job with the FAA in Denver.

Reservations for the luncheon can be made by visiting the Wichita Aero Club’s website at or by calling 316-665-2699. The event is open to the public with seats available for $40 to non-members and $30 to WAC members.