OTTUMWA — Some lessons learned in your hometown can stay with you for a lifetime and provide the means to accomplish any goal.
For Greg Herrick, 62, a native Ottumwan who now resides in Blaine, Minn., flying lessons that he took in Ottumwa as a teenager have provided him with the background to become a leader in the aviation community. To recognize his great accomplishments in the aviation field, Herrick is a 2014 inductee into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.
While growing up in Ottumwa, Herrick enjoyed swimming, lettering three times on the Ottumwa High School swim team. He graduated from OHS in 1970, and as a graduation gift, his parents paid for his first flying lessons.
Herrick said when he was in the process of getting his pilot’s license he would go up two or three times a week and right away he fell in love with flying and the old Ford Trimotor he flew.
“That maybe made an impression on me,” he said. “I just fell in love with the old airplanes. I fell in love with the idea of being able to fly.”
Once his high school days were over, Herrick attended the University of Iowa, where he earned a degree in marketing. He moved to Blaine, Minn., in 1980 and had many successful business ventures, including the establishment of the personal computer manufacturer ZEOS International, which was named America’s Fastest Growing Public Company by Fortune magazine in 1991.
After selling ZEOS International in 1995, he created Sky Media, LLC, which publishes the Historic Aviation, Historic Rail and The Civil War Standard and Military Issue mail order catalogs. He also started the marketing publication AircraftOwner, which reaches out to aircraft buyers and businesses that own and fly their own planes.
Herrick serves as the president of the Aviation Foundation of America, and has been the driving force behind many historic flight recreations, airport preservation projects and educational programs, and he has even gotten an amendment passed by the U.S. Congress. The amendment is titled FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act 2012, but more commonly referred to as “The Herrick Amendment.”