Following a nationwide search, Donald “Ralph” Gibbs has been named the new director of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Aviation Technology Division. He will join the division on Aug. 1, succeeding Rocky Capozzi, who has served as the director since 2006 and will be retiring.
“The Aviation Technology Division director is a key leadership position for our college,” said Bonnie Nygard, interim dean of the UAA Community & Technical College. “Ralph will be responsible for providing vision and guidance to ensure our aviation programs align with the needs of Alaska’s aviation industry, as well as the needs of the aviation industry both nationally and internationally.”
Gibbs comes to UAA from Eastern Kentucky University where he has served as director of aviation and chief flight instructor since 2011. His previous experience includes 26 years in the United States Marine Corps where he served in a number of capacities, including as a flight instructor training Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel.
As an aviator he logged more than 4,500 hours in helicopter gunships, twin-engine observation aircraft and Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft. He later served as an executive officer, overseeing all airport operations for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, and chief financial officer for squadrons in the Marine Pacific Forces.
He began his career in higher education following his retirement from the military and has also held the position of deputy director of aviation at Central Oregon Community College and program director for Oregon Institute of Technology’s operations management degree.
Gibbs completed his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Portland State University and earned an MBA with an aviation emphasis from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in business administration with an aviation emphasis from Northcentral University in Arizona.
By Kirstin Olmstead, CTC Communications Coordinator