New leadership for Institute of Flight

Jeff Van Dyck named permanent executive director
By Brandon Gustafson | Feb 07, 2018
Courtesy of: the Institute of Flight Jeff Van Dyck, the new executive director for the Institute of Flight. Van Dyck has had a relationship with the IoF for roughly a decade and was the staff’s choice for the role.

Changes are coming for the Institute of Flight with a new leader running the show.

Jeff Van Dyck, who previously was appointed as interim executive director, has now been named to the same position on a full-time basis as of Jan. 26.

“We are pleased to announce that Jeff will lead our top-flight team of professionals at this world-class facility,” Dr. Nicholas Patrick, former president of the Institute of Flight’s board of directors, said. “He has a clear understanding of our position in the community and the region, in addition to providing shared leadership to the Boeing Tour operations and direction to our well-respected education programs. He further has the full support of the IoF board of directors.”

The Institute of Flight runs the day-to-day operations, management and ticketing at the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Mukilteo on Paine Field Boulevard. It is the most popular attraction in Snohomish County, attracting 324,000 tourists on the Boeing Tour alone, with another 175,000 visitors per year to the Aerospace Gallery.

Former Executive Director Bonnie Hilory stepped down after more than three years at the helm.

Van Dyck attended Southern Oregon University and the Art Center College in Pasadena, Calif., and has lived in Edmonds for more than 30 years with his wife Eileen.

He has also had a longtime relationship with the Future of Flight Foundation, previously serving on the board of directors for the Institute of Flight as well as serving as their Exhibits Committee chair, and hopes to continue to have strong relationships with Snohomish County and local businesses such as Boeing.

“In Jeff’s short time as interim executive director, he brought a renewed focus and energy to the organization, streamlining operations and emphasizing our desire to continue serving our partners, Snohomish County and Boeing,” Institute of Flight Board of Directors President Cameron Percy said.

“His familiarity with, and to, all of our stakeholders made his onboarding seamless, and we applaud the spirit of openness and collaboration he brings to all aspects of running the Future of Flight Aviation Center.”

When Hilory was stepping down from her role, staff suggested Van Dyck for the job. “He’s been supporting us for more than 10 years now,” Pamela Drake, administrative and project specialist for the Institute of Flight, said. “Having him in this position has been great already.”

He said he really appreciates the staff at the Future of Flight for making his job easier, and hopes to keep things running smoothly.

“I’m just trying to enable the great staff to do the best job they can,” Van Dyck said. “I like to manage from a plane, not from the top of a pyramid.

“Already knowing everyone has made this really easy for me. It’s a great group of people, and it’s been interesting to hear their ideas and education plans.”

Van Dyck had a 20-year career at Boeing as a creative director responsible for immersive brand-experience.

During his time with Boeing, Van Dyck led the design for the Dreamliner Gallery that allowed airline representatives to pick out different components for their new planes in a showroom setting.

“When we did that, I worked closely with a cultural anthropologist, and we studied cultures around the world to figure out what different cultures like and prefer with regards to flying,” Van Dyck said.

Van Dyck hopes to get more local businesses to do exhibits, to enhance and refresh  the Future of Flight Gallery.

“We’re inviting suppliers from aerospace companies in the area to do exhibits about their contributions,” Van Dyck said. “We don’t want to be seen as a museum. I want us to be viewed as an interpretive center that talks about where flight is going.”

Looking ahead, Van Dyck is excited for the Future of Flight’s Family STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Night on March 14.

“It’s a free education event for kids, adults and vendors,” he said. “Those attending will get hands-on experiences like 3D printers and our ‘Drone Zone.’”

When asked why they use “STEAM” over the more common “STEM,” Van Dyck said arts are pivotal in our society.

“What’s kept America unique is our strong arts programs,” Van Dyck said. “Using right brain thinking helps us with our critical thinking.  And, this critical thinking thrives on creativity. I’d love to see America put more emphasis on the arts.”

The hardest question Van Dyck had to answer? What’s his favorite current exhibit at the Future of Flight?

“The Destiny Module exhibit is probably my favorite right now,” Van Dyck said. “We have a really close relationship with the Museum of Flight, and they lent the module mock-up to us at no cost.

“We’ve brought in a couple of astronauts, including Nicholas Patrick, who got to tell people what it’s like to live and work in the Destiny Module at the International Space Station.”

The Future of Flight is at 8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukilteo. The aviation center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day and conducts the Boeing Tour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily as well.

 

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