A native of Idaho whose aviation experience includes flight training and education, military service and administrative work in the private sector, was named the new Division of Aeronautics administrator this week.
ITD Director Pam Lowe announced Thursday afternoon the selection of John DeThomas who will leave his family’s farm near Rupert to assume the administrative position, effective April 9.
DeThomas, now a resident of Ketchum, was born in Rupert and returned to the Magic Valley community in 2002 to take over his family’s farm and support his aging parents. Immediately preceding his return to Idaho, DeThomas served as director of flight training for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s western campus in Prescott, Ariz.
He also served as director of flight operations for Raytheon Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kan., from 1995 to 1998, and was a defense system manager for Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co. in Burbank, Calif. In six years at Lockheed, he also was director of flight operations and was a test pilot.
DeThomas concluded a 24-year Naval career in 1985, retiring as a captain. He provided combat support during the Vietnam War (1967 to 1970) and received a number of commendations and medals for his military service.
The new Aeronautics administrator earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1965 and a master’s in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.
“(DeThomas) brings a wealth of experience to ITD and the Aeronautics Division,” Lowe said in making the announcement. “But he also has very good leadership skills. We wanted to find someone who could bring more to the position than technical qualifications; we wanted someone with very strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work well with people.”
Lowe expressed her appreciation to Sue Simmons, who served as interim administrator of the division the past three months while continuing as administrator of ITD’s Division of Administration. “Her leadership was extremely valuable during the transition period,” Lowe said.
Simmons and Roger Sorenson, chair of the Aeronautics Advisory Board, were instrumental in the initial search that narrowed a pool of more than 70 applicants to 10 finalists and Lowe’s ultimate selection of DeThomas.
A more thorough discussion with the new Aeronautics administrator will be included in the Transporter after DeThomas settles into his new position.