Scott M Niswonger is a successful businessman who owns majority interests in two of the largest air cargo companies in the United States. As of 13 March 2020, his net worth is estimated at $103 million.
He started out in aviation when he was a teenager. After graduating from Purdue University, he became a certified pilot and worked for Magnavox, a television manufacturer. At age twenty-five, he founded a company that provided air cargo services. It was called Landair. Eventually, he sold the company to Flying Tiger Lines, a global cargo airline.
He and his wife, Nikki, have four children and eight grandchildren. Their family has a strong philanthropic commitment. In addition to his charitable foundation, he is involved in community affairs. Currently, he is an ordained elder at Greeneville’s Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and has been on the Board of Trustees at East Tennessee State University for 30 years. Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors at Ballad Health, a health care provider in Tennessee.
During the 1980s, the trucking industry deregulated and air-freight operators began seeking a reliable ground transport system. Niswonger saw the potential for such a service, and in the fall of 1981, he and his partner, Ed Saylor, started Landair. They spent heavily to deliver goods to exactly where they were needed, and replaced tractors every three years.
Niswonger later formed General Aviation, Inc., a cargo airline that Niswonger ran for seven years. Niswonger was recognized as an entrepreneur of the year in the Southeast by Ernt & Young in 1999. This business allowed him to fly small jets as well as jumbo jets, and he was able to contract for air freight services for various companies. Eventually, he sold his company to Flying Tiger Lines, whose aircraft are used by military contractors all over the world.
The Niswonger Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and other philanthropic activities in the state of Tennessee. In the next fiscal year, it will provide over $12 million in educational programming. There are many other activities that the Niswonger Foundation supports. Some of them include a hospital for sick children, community development initiatives, and scholarship programs.
Previously, Niswonger served on the board of directors for First Horizon National Corporation, a subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank. He was also a member of the board’s Executive Committee. Since 2003, he has made sixteen trades of First Horizon stock. However, he still owns 871,273 shares of the stock.
In addition to his investments in companies, Niswonger is a member of the Dean’s Executive Council at Purdue University, and he serves as a Trustee at Tusculum College. For a brief time, he served as Chairman of the Greene County Partnership. And, he was a founding member of the Greene County Aviation Hall of Fame.
Niswonger has been named an honorary doctor of humane letters by Purdue University. He also was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame. His charitable work has been recognized by the state of Tennessee.