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Schreck says. “For example, I never dreamed I’d work in the White House, but the Air Force gave me that opportunity. I’ve traveled to all 50 states in my career, as well as over 25 countries. Up until age 17 my sphere of travel was limited to states adjacent to Iowa.”


For Schreck, his Air Force and corporate path has not only been well traveled in miles, but also the road less traveled, since few travel through an elite academy to reach the rank of colonel and top management in a top-tier aerospace corporation.


After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the academy, Schreck obtained his master’s in that field at the University of Illinois. With those solid academic credentials, he was well prepared to serve as a missile warning systems and space operations engineer for the first seven years of his Air Force career before moving into military leadership roles. Schreck summarizes, “I was in command and control communications. I spent three years working in the White House, led a combat communications group during the 9/11 attacks, and finished up in a couple of headquarters roles in Space Command and Education & Training Command.”


Collins Called


He retired out of the military in 2005 and went to work at Rockwell Collins. Schreck started out his corporate career in strategy for the government-systems sector, and moved from there to run the precision weapons business for four years. Then he took a job on the East Coast as site leader in the Rockwell Collins unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business, but returned to Cedar Rapids two years later to lead marketing strategy and mergers and acquisitions for its government systems and international business. In 2016, Schreck was selected as the vice president general manager of airborne solutions, which transitioned to his current role as vice president general manager of military avionics and helicopters for Collins Aerospace (Rockwell Collins was acquired by United Technologies Corporation to form Collins Aerospace).


“I never dreamed I’d work in the White House, but the Air Force gave me that opportunity.”


Family photo at Columbus Air Force Base where Schreck’s son (who now flies the E-3 AWACS) had just graduated from USAF Pilot Training. Left to right: daughter-in- law Shelly, wife Corry, son Eric, Dave Schreck, and daughter Katie.


It may seem surprising that an officer from a predominantly fixed-wing military branch winds up in helicopters. However, Schreck confesses, “I’ve always found rotorcraft interesting; they beat the air into submission with a rotor blade. It’s amazing to take off vertically.” He’s also enamored with the utility and variety of missions undertaken by rotorcraft, and motivated by the challenge that breadth presents. “Just in the military sector alone, rotorcraft fly a wide range of utility and attack missions – moving large payloads, transporting troops, and bringing battlefield effects key to successful missions across all the armed services. In the civil sector, there’s not only corporate flight, but also paramilitary missions flown in law enforcement as well as air medical services. When you think about the rapid change in all these


areas, it’s just an astronomical challenge to position yourself to do it very efficiently and effectively.”


It’s a challenge he believes Collins Aerospace is meeting. “I’ve been extremely impressed with our teams at Rockwell Collins, and now at Collins Aerospace, to meet these challenges. When I was in the Air Force, I was a consumer of these capabilities and didn’t really think about what it took to create what we were using. When I first came to Rockwell Collins and saw our engineering labs and manufacturing processes, it really dropped my jaw.”


rotorcraftpro.com


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