UND’s Dan Kasowski to be inducted into N.D. Aviation Hall of Fame
Aerospace School’s longtime maintenance director garners safety record second to none
Dan Kasowski, who has served in multiple roles throughout more than 40 years at UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, will be inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in March.
A native of Buffalo, N.D., Kasowski began working at UND in 1979 as the Odegard School’s second full-time aviation mechanic. He then ascended to multiple supervisory roles, including his current role of director of maintenance, where he oversees a team of about 100 employees.
With his induction, Kasowski joins a group of 48 individuals who have had a “significant impact on the growth, development and promotion of aviation in North Dakota,” according to the Hall of Fame’s website.
Kasowski said his initial reaction to the news was amazement.
“There are some pretty impressive people in there, so you kind of feel like you don’t belong there at first,” he said. “I don’t think it soaked in for five or 10 minutes.”
Kasowski, who has been lauded for his steadfast commitment to aviation safety, praised his team for promoting such values within the college.
“You always talk about safety being No. 1, and I think one of the things that is really important to our group is that we fly safe airplanes,” he said. “We don’t talk about it a lot – I think maybe we’re superstitious – but if you look at the flight hours we’ve flown over the years, it’s a pretty remarkable record. I’m proud of the fact that our crew and organization is as safety oriented as it is.”
Elizabeth Bjerke, associate dean and professor at the Odegard School, described Kasowski’s contributions in a letter nominating her colleague for the Hall of Fame.
“Under Dan’s leadership, UND’s flight operation consistently garnered the FAA Diamond Award, a testament to their commitment to training, safety and professional development,” Bjerke wrote.
“His strategic guidance navigated the institution through multiple fleet changes, significantly enhancing safety across all flight operations. Dan’s humble demeanor and unwavering dedication to safety contributed to UND’s impeccable safety record, establishing North Dakota as a premier global destination for pilot training. …
“Dan’s legacy is not just a testament to his technical expertise but also to his commitment to mentorship, safety, and the broader aviation community. His profound impact, stemming from mentorship and dedicated work in the field, has positively impacted many individuals within and beyond the North Dakota aviation community.”
Kasowski said one of the most rewarding aspects of his career has been mentoring students and subordinates, and then watching them advance in their careers.
“I’ve had mechanics who have worked for me for years who’ve gone on to become directors of maintenance,” he said. “You like to think some of that stems back to things we’ve taught them at UND.”
Maintaining the Odegard School’s international stature and desire to improve the educational experience for students and faculty alike, are motivating influences for Kasowski and his team.
“I think we take pride in being No. 1,” he said. “The fact that I think we are the No. 1 flight school, and everybody believes in that is important. That’s what keeps it exciting too, is you always want to be the best. All aerospace employees seem to have that same initiative.”
While he has not set a retirement date, Kasowski plans to do so in the coming year to “spend more time with the grandkids, traveling and at the lake.”
Kasowski’s induction will take place on Tuesday, March 5 at the Alerus Center, as part of the annual Fly North Dakota Conference. The event will begin with a social at 6:00 p.m., followed by a banquet at 7:00. Those interested in attending may purchase tickets at https://www.fly-nd.com/events/Conference.