President: Tom Wilson ’61  Brevet Colonel; Retired as a Lt. Colonel for family reasons. A Command Pilot with over 5,200 flying hours, including 833 combat hours in Vietnam, during which time he received the Bronze Star and Air Medal with 12 OLCs. Served as an AOC at the U. S. Air Force Academy. His final assignment was Deputy Base Commander and Logistics Squadron Commander at Duluth AFB. He was the Director of Store Development for CUB Foods until SuperValu acquired CUB, after which he worked as a Marketing Director in commercial construction and then formed his own company as a Manufacturer’s Representative. He co-founded the Stillwater Area Baseball Association and coached youth baseball for 23 years. One son (’84) and 2 grandchildren (’13) have graduated from the Air Force Academy . Another son attended (’91) but was medically discharged due to asthma. Tom has an MBA from the U. of Southern California. 651-430-2269,

Vice President and Treasurer: Rick Knoll ’65  Colonel (retired) Rick Knoll spent 9 years in Data Automation including assignments in Thailand during the Vietnam War and then the Pentagon.  Then he trained in missiles for 14 years in Strategic Air Command, and his assignments included crew, flight, squadron, group/base, and wing commander positions, finishing as the missile wing and host commander at Grand Forks AFB, from which he retired from the AF.  He was Plant Manager for Bausch & Lomb, then National Sales Director for the School Picture Division of Josten’s, then Senior Project Director for UnitedHealth Group.  Rick is retired, helping his children become entrepreneurs, and he currently provides business management support to two of his children.  952-854-7874,

Legal Advisor: Charlie Nelson ’96  As an Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Charlie provided tactical leadership to 380 personnel providing repair and maintenance for 33 B-1 aircraft including orchestrating the compressed phase inspection efforts supporting Operation Enduring Freedom immediately following 9/11.  After separation from the AF, Charlie provided leadership to a team of 50 executives and mechanics for Target Corp. overseeing the maintenance of equipment, systems, building and grounds of a 1.1 million square foot distribution center that provided distribution service to 47 stores in Minnesota and North Dakota.  Charlie left the logistics career field to attend law school.  Upon graduation from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2011, he served a two-year term clerking for the Honorable Robert J. Kressel in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota.  Currently, Charlie is an associate attorney at Lindquist & Vennum, (recently acquired by, Ballard Sparh, effective January 1, 2018) and practices in the areas of Financial Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Civil Litigation.  Charlie also earned his MBA from the University of South Dakota.  Charlie is married to Vanessa (Koutroupas) and they live in southwest Minneapolis with their three children, Daschel, Triada and Raiden. 952-240-2784,

Secretary: Bob Youngquist ’72
Jun ’73 Graduate Pilot Training, Webb AFB, TX
Oct ’73 – Jun ’76 T-38 Instructor/Academic Instructor Pilot Training Vance AFB, OK
Jun ’76 – Jun ’80 B-52 Aircraft Commander/ Instructor Blytheville AFB, AR
Jun ’80 – Jun ’85 B-52 Instructor Pilot/ Academic Instructor CCTS Castle AFB, CA
Jun ’85 – Jun ’88 Test Pilot/Instructor/Evaluator Edwards AFB, CA
Jun ’88 – Jun ’90 SAC HQs Staff Position responsible for monitoring IRAD(Independent Research and Development)
Jun ’90 – Jun ’92 Bomber Team Chief/ Chief Scheduler with the On Site Inspection Agency. Responsible for Nuclear Arms Reduction of Russia, Washington, D.C.
1 Jul ’92 Retirement from the USAF
Nov ’93 – Dec ’94 Academic instructor for Northwest Airlines, Eagan, MN
Dec ’94 – Aug 2014 Pilot for Northwest /Delta Airlines , Eagan, MN DC-9 First officer/Captain and Captain A320 Airbus.
31 Aug 2014 Retirement from Delta Airlines

Board of Directors

Sandy Carlson ’80, Term expires 2021, 
Sandy grew up in Minneapolis, MN. After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980, she served on active duty as a Systems Acquisition Officer at the Electronic Systems Division, Hanscom AFB, working on the acquisition of command and control systems and at HQ AFSPACECOM, Peterson AFB working on command and control upgrades to Cheyenne Mountain. She also completed the Education With Industry Program at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation. After leaving active duty, she worked for Honeywell and it’s spin-off Company Alliant Techsystems as a Marketing representative. She also worked for National Computer Systems in Sales Support. She continued her Air Force career in the Air Force Reserve as an Admissions Liaison Officer. After being accepted into the Minnesota Air National Guard, she was recommissioned as a Medical Service Corps officer and served as a traditional Guard member. Sandy commanded both an Aeomedical Evacuation Squadron and a Medical Squadron. She also served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the HQ USAFE Surgeon General and the HQ AFSPACECOM Surgeon General. She served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. She retired from the Air National Guard in 2010. She has a MS degree from Northeastern University, Boston, MA. She is married to John and they reside in the Twin Cities Area.

Tom Wilson ‘61, Term expires 2021,

Zach Turcotte ‘00, Term expires 2021,
Zach grew up in Roseville and was an All-Conference heavyweight wrestler.  He flew the KC-135 in Operations Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom with a permanent base at Grand Forks AFB.  He then joined the North Dakota Air National Guard and flew the Predator drone for four years.  For the past two years, Zach has been a financial advisor for AXA Advisors where he helps individuals and small businesses build, implement and maintain a financial plan which helps them achieve their financial goals.  Zach met Jessica while traveling in Europe after graduating from the U. S. Air Force Academy – they have a daughter, Zoe and a son, Liam.  He has an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the U. of Minnesota.

Terry Flower ‘64, Term expires 2019,
After completing pilot training Terry instructed in the T-33 and T-38 aircraft. Following a medical retirement, he went on to get his MS and PhD degrees at the University of Wyoming. From 1979 until his retirement in 2012,  Terry was a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at St. Catherine University. He chaired the department and held the Endowed Chair in Science. He left for a year to serve as a Visiting Professor of Physics at the U. S. Air Force Academy. He owns and operates Big River Stables and is an active pilot with Minnesota Soaring Club, flying gliders and the tow plane. He is President of both the Minnesota Association of Scholars and the Twin Cities Republican Association. He was elected to three terms on the Hastings, MN School Board and represented District 16 on the Metropolitan Council. Additionally he has been inducted into the Aerospace Educators Hall of Fame.

Rick Knoll ‘65, Term expires 2019,

Bob Youngquist ‘72, Term expires 2019,

Bob Hickcox ’75, Term expires 2020,
Bob served as a Computer Operations Officer at Andersen AFB (SAC) and Hanscom AFB (AFSC) until 1980, when he received his Honorable Discharge.  Bob worked for Digital Equipment Corporation in a series of Information Technology and Project Management positions for 15 years.  He then joined National Computer Systems, now Pearson, serving as Vice President and CIO, leaving in 2001 to run his own IT project consulting practice.   He joined PLATO Learning in 2005, serving both as CIO and Vice President of Professional Services until late 2007.  From 2008 until 2015, Bob worked with the Girl Scouts of the USA, first as the senior IT leader in the local Minnesota council, then at the national level, as the architect of a comprehensive business and volunteer support system.  Bob graduated from the Academy with a double major in Economics and Management, and earned an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Bob is a Life Member of the AOG and the Air Force

Tom Arata ’80, Term expires 2021,
Vice President Global Technology Platforms and Anchor Marketing. Tom is responsible for cross-divisional technology platform development and corporate open innovation activities. Tom has been with Ecolab for seventeen years in assignments that include VP Marketing & Business Development – F&B, VP Dairy and Agri Business – F&B, and VP Marketing, Global Antimicrobial and Hand Care. Prior to joining Ecolab in 1997, he had extensive experience in the medical and specialty chemicals industries. Previous assignments include BOC Gases, where Tom held senior sales, marketing and P&L management roles. He also held sales and sales management assignments in the clinical diagnostics division of Baxter Healthcare. He served several years on active duty in the United States Air Force as an instructor pilot. He serves on the boards of Catholic Charities and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Tom holds a BS in biology from the United States Air Force Academy and a MBA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.Association.

Jason VanOverbeke ’03, Term expires 2020, 

Jason VanOverbeke is a 2003 graduate from the Academy with a degree in Foreign Area Studies. He grew up in Eagan, MN before attending the Academy. Jason spent his time in the Air Force as a Comm and Information Officer at Ellsworth AFB. He currently is a Major in the Air Force Reserves where he is a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations out of Quanico, VA. Additionally, Jason has spent his career as a project manager, mainly in the energy end engineering sectors. He currently works as a Project Manager for Electric Machinery in Minneapolis, MN. Jason holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, MN. Jason lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife Holli and Yellow Lab Lincoln. He enjoys traveling, participating in triathlons and the arts.

Ben Schoenbauer ’04, Term expires 2020,
Ben Schoenbauer is a 2004 graduate from the Academy with a degree in Engineering Mechanics.  He grew up in the towns of New Prague and St Paul Minnesota.  He spent his time in the Air Force as an engineer at the Air Logistics Center in Oklahoma City, working on the engine for the F16.  He progressed on to NASA-Johnson Space Center where he spent time as a Test Director in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division.  Ben has since spent his time in manufacturing operations and currently holds the title of Heath, Safety, Environmental, Security and Ergonomics Director for Cummins Power Systems in Fridley MN.  Ben and his wife Jennie returned to Minnesota in 2013.  They have two boys (Ben Jr and Luke).  They enjoy boating on the river and traveling in their free time.

Committee Chairs

Advanced Education, Terry Flower ’64

ALO Program/Diversity Recruit, Bill Fields ’99,

Bill Fields grew up in Tennessee and graduated from USAFA in ’99.  Had the great fortune/opportunity to go to pilot training in Del Rio, TX where upon graduation he flew C-21s out of Maxwell AFB in Alabama as an Evaluator Pilot.  From there Bill transitioned into the mighty C-17, which he flew out of McChord AFB in Washington as an Instructor Pilot.  During this time, the VSP was taking place and Bill was told that I would either be going to Altus or Keesler…I opted for Keesler to be near family, so once again I was flying the C-21 and training future C-21 pilots (schoolhouse assignment).  Bill had numerous trips and deployments over the years, and he and his wife ultimately decided to transition to an opportunity flying the C-21 out of Fargo, ND.  This brought family back to the MN area where his wife is from, and they have finalized our family with our capstone kid (#4).  As the Fargo unit changed missions to all UAV, I found the opportunity to transition into the ALO role here in the Twin Cities where I’ve served as an ALO, DLOD and now LOD (Liaison Officer Director).

Challenger Center, Terry Flower ’64

Congressional Liaison, Terry Flower ’64 / Charlie Nelson ’96

Financial & Budget, Rick Knoll ’65

Fundraising and Strategic Planning, Rick Knoll ’65 and Bob Hickcox ’75

Membership, Zach Turcotte ’00

MN Parents’ Club Coordinator, Sandy Carlson ’80, 

Newsletter, Ben Schoenbauer ’04

Program, Jason VanOverbeke ’03,

Tri-Service Employment Hub, Dan Dorson ’99,
In the Air Force, Dan flew the B-1 over Afghanistan and around Guam, taught the T-37, then the T-6 to US and Europeans at ENJJPT, and coordinated exercises for the Air Force Global Strike Command. Now working as a project manager here in the Twin Cities, Dan likes to connect with others new to the area or looking for employment. Visit for good transition tips and employment advice.


Content of this web site is not an official publication of the United States Air Force Academy or the Association of Graduates. Information presented here does not represent policies of the United States Air Force or its associated organizations.
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