Scott M. Niswonger

Scott Niswonger

Chairman and Founder

Scott M. Niswonger was born in Van Wert, Ohio where he took his first flight lesson at the age of twelve, soloed on his sixteenth birthday, and received his private pilot license on his seventeenth birthday. During his aviation career, he has flown everything from J-3 Cubs to the Boeing 747, currently enjoying his Gulfstream IV and Navy T-34 trainer. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Aviation Technology and was awarded a Doctorate of Technology in 2004. He earned a BSBA from Tusculum College in 1986 and was awarded a Doctorate of Human Letters in 2006. Recently, he received the most prestigious award the Federal Aviation Administration issues to pilots – The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

Scott moved to Greeneville, Tennessee as the corporate pilot for the president of the Magnavox Company. In 1973, Niswonger started a cargo airline, General Aviation, Inc. After selling General, he became the Vice President of North American Operations for Flying Tiger Lines – a military contractor and global cargo airline. He later co-founded a second transportation company, Landair Services, with an initial investment of $2000; and in 1990 formed Forward Air Corporation (FWRD). Those companies today have annual sales of over $1 billion. It’s impressive to note that he founded the first two companies to ever be taken public in Greene County’s 231 year history. Niswonger currently serves as Executive Chairman of Landair Transport, Inc. and Chairman Emeritus of Forward Air Corporation. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE; FHN), the parent of First Tennessee Bank, a $26 billion financial services company. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for East Tennessee State University, where he has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate and recognized as an Honorary Alumnus.

He is especially proud of the Niswonger Foundation that he established in 2001 with the mission “to create opportunities for individual and community growth through education and other sustainable projects.” The Foundation’s two major areas of focus are the Scholarship and Leadership program, developing leaders to return to serve their home communities; and the School Partnership program, focused on ensuring that students are ready for post-secondary education and the workforce, and providing professional learning opportunities for educators.

Scott is the lead benefactor for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital. This hospital provides a full complement of specialty health service to children, is home to a Shriners Hospitals Orthopedics Clinic, and is one of only six St. Jude Affiliate Clinics in the world.

“My personal philosophy is best described in the motto of the Niswonger Foundation – “Learn, Earn and Return,” and the Biblical admonition of Luke 12:48: “To whom much is given much is expected.” Every person has a finite number of heartbeats. Let’s use them wisely.”



Scott M. Niswonger