Scott M. 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 is a graduate from Purdue University with a degree in Aviation Technology and was awarded a Doctor of Technology in 2004. In addition, Mr. Niswonger earned a BS Degree in Business Administration from Tusculum University in 1986 and later was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2006. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from East Tennessee State University and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Tennessee.

After graduation from Purdue University, Mr. Niswonger moved to Greeneville, Tennessee as a 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 $2 billion. It’s impressive to note that Scott founded the first two companies to ever be taken public in Greene County’s 230-year history. Niswonger currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of Landair Transport, Inc. and Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ:FWRD).

He is a former member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE: FHN), the parent of First Tennessee Bank, an $87 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 President’s Council, Deans Council for Purdue University Polytechnic Institute, board member for the Purdue Research Foundation and is the Chairman of Purdue Aviation.  Mr. Niswonger was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2019.

Scott Niswonger is also the Chairman of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville TN and serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Ballad Health, a 21 hospital – healthcare enterprise with over 15,000 employees.

He is especially proud of the Niswonger Foundation that he established in 2001 to create opportunities for individual and community growth through education and other sustainable projects. This educational operating and charitable foundation currently has 10 scholars in universities across America and 91 alumni. The Foundation supports numerous programs and partnerships with school districts across the State of Tennessee. With federal, state, and private grants, the Foundation will provide over $12 million in educational programming in the next fiscal year.

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.



    The Niswonger Foundation was established in 2001 to make a positive and sustainable difference in education in Northeast Tennessee. This dream was envisioned by Scott M. Niswonger, who founded Landair Transport, Inc. and Forward Air Corporation. These companies were the first two Greeneville-based companies to be taken public in the history of Greene County, Tennessee. Jointly, the companies have combined annual revenue of over one-billion-dollars and employ more than 5000 people.


    223 North Main Street
    P.O. Box 1508
    Greeneville, TN 37744


    (423) 820-8181


    (423) 588-5933