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Scott M. Niswonger

Scott Niswonger

Chairman and Founder

Scott Niswonger was born in Van Wert, Ohio where he learned to fly, soloing on his 16th birthday. During his aviation career, he has flown everything from J-3 Cubs to the Boeing 747. He currently enjoys flying his Gulfstream IV and his aerobatic Navy T-34 trainer.

He is a graduate from Purdue University with a degree in Aviation Technology and was awarded a Doctorate of Technology in 2004. In addition, Mr. Niswonger earned a BSBA from Tusculum University in 1986 and later was honored with a Doctorate of Human Letters in 2006. He also holds a Doctorate of humane Letters from East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee.

After graduation from Purdue University, Mr. Niswonger moved to Greeneville, Tennessee as the corporate pilot for the president of The Magnavox Company. In 1973, Niswonger started a cargo airline, General Aviation, Inc. After selling General Aviation he became the Vice President of North American Operations for Flying Tiger Lines – a military contractor and global cargo airline. He later co-founded a second transportation company, Landair Services, with an initial investment of $2,000; and in 1990 formed Forward Air Corporation. Those companies today have annual sales of over $1 billion. It’s impressive to note that he founded the first two companies to ever be taken public in Greene County’s 233 year history. Niswonger currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of Landair Transport, Inc. and  Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD). He is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE: FHN), the parent of First Tennessee Bank, a $40 billion financial services 
company. He is the Chairman of East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees and a 30-year Trustee of Tusculum University. At Purdue University he is a member of the Presidents Executive Council, Deans Council for Purdue University Polytechnic Institute, board member for the Purdue Research Foundation and Chairman of Purdue Aviation.

Scott Niswonger is also the Chairman of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville TN and serves as a Board of Director of Ballad Health, a 20 hospital – 15,000 employer healthcare enterprise.

He is especially proud of The Niswonger Educational Foundation that he established in 2001 to create opportunities for individual and regional growth through educational programs, scholarships, and other charitable activities. This educational operating foundation currently has 20 scholars in universities across America and 81 alumni. The Foundation has an annual program budget of more than $3 million and has invested nearly $60 million in our region.

Niswonger is the lead benefactor for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital, which is home to one of only eight St. Jude Affiliate Clinics in the world. 

With an exceptional level of involvement, businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger has made a positive impact for those who will follow.

Scott and his wife, Nikki, have 4 children and 8 grandchildren.