Omaha – This week, the Boy Scouts of America is honoring the head of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Aviation Institute for more than a decade’s worth of service-learning benefitting Omaha youth.
On Saturday, Jan. 11, Scott Vlasek, director of UNO’s Aviation Institute, will receive the William H. Spurgeon III Award from the Boy Scouts of America, Mid America Council. The regional organization oversees more than 20,000 scouts across Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
Since 1971, the William H. Spurgeon III Award has been the highest recognition for individuals and organizations contributing significant leadership to the Boy Scouts of America’s “Exploring” program. Vlasek was nominated and selected for the award for his service and leadership to the Aviation Exploring Post (518), sponsored by UNO’s Aviation Institute.
The program exposes high school-age scouts to career opportunities in aviation through hands-on experiences, including a behind the scenes tour of Eppley Airfield, visits to local airlines, a look at an air traffic control facility, time on one of UNO’s flight simulators and an opportunity to fly a small single engine aircraft with a certified flight instructor.
Vlasek has been involved with the Aviation Exploring Post since its inception in 1997. He started as the post counselor and now serves as the post advisor.
“This is a tremendous honor for me, and I am so proud to be a part of the Exploring program,” Vlasek said. “It is incredible to see students come through this program, many of whom eventually end up in our program at UNO.”
Vlasek was born and raised in Omaha. He attended Creighton Prepatory High School before attending UNO in 1990. Upon graduating with his Masters in Public Administration, he accepted a position at UNO as the Academic Program Coordinator for the Aviation Institute.
In 2007, Vlasek became an instructor for the School of Public Administration and Aviation Institute. In 2012, he was named director of UNO’s Aviation Institute. In his first year as director, UNO’s aviation program was named “Program of the Year” by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, receiving the Loening Trophy, which was first awarded in 1929 and is often called the “Stanley Cup” of Aviation.
“High school students, and sometimes even our college students, do not realize all the opportunities that are available in this industry,” Vlasek said. “From air traffic control and airport operations, to flight dispatch, meteorology, and aviation law - there are so many opportunities. I truly enjoy sharing my passion with young adults of all ages about this exciting and rewarding career field.”
About the Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council
For over 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America has created a strong foundation of leadership, service, and community for millions of America’s youth. For more information, visit www.mac-bsa.org.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.