Atwater Steps Down as Kansas Aviation Director to Run International Organization

Merrill Atwater
Merrill Atwater

Merrill Atwater (shown at right) has stepped down as the Kansas aviation director to become COO at People to People International, an organization started by his great-grandfather, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Atwater, who became KDOT director of aviation in February 2016, not only exhibited a high level of energy and focus in Kansas, but brought his unique brand of enthusiasm and can-do spirit to the national stage as well through his involvement with the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO).

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Merrill throughout his tenure as Kansas’ Aviation Director,” said NASAO President Mark Kimberling. “From the outset, it was evident that Merrill was determined to maintain Kansas’ position as a leading state in aviation – with an innovative focus, among other things, on UAS integration and aviation education. We wish him all the best in his next pursuit and thank him for his many contributions to our association.”

Kansas Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson said that under Atwater’s management, the Division of Aviation at KDOT has created a significant imprint on the heart of the Kansas aviation industry. “From economic development, to workforce innovation programs and educational opportunities, Merrill has led KDOT Aviation on a path of innovation. We appreciate his service to this agency and the State of Kansas and wish him the very best.”

People to People International creates lasting cross-cultural connections between everyday citizens around the world to help them explore global issues, serve and enrich their diverse communities, and become more effective leaders in creating a more peaceful world.

To fill the void, the KDOT has selected Robert “Bob” Brock to take on the role of interim director of aviation. Brock had served as the state’s UAS Director as well as the Aviation Division’s deputy.

“We are so fortunate at KDOT to have such a talented and passionate person like Bob Brock to take over aviation,” said Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson. “After already serving the state and the agency in opening new doors for UAS, Brock is in the best possible position to make great strides for aviation in Kansas.”

KDOT says Brock will continue to work closely with the FAA and aviation stakeholders across the nation to support Kansas aviation. He will also oversee the Kansas Airport Improvement Program, Unmanned Systems Program, and Science, Technology, and Aviation Resource (STAR) program.

“I look forward to my continued service to KDOT and the State of Kansas,” said Brock. “We will continue to work with legislators, stakeholders, and communities to increase aviation safety and promote the growth of the aviation industry in Kansas.”