Parkland foundation names Frasca entrepreneur of the year

URBANA — Rudy Frasca has been chosen as the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Parkland College Foundation.

Frasca is the founder and former president of Frasca International, the Urbana-based flight-simulator manufacturer that sells products internationally.

Frasca is slated to receive the V. Dale Cozad Entrepreneur of the Year Award on June 12, 2013, at a banquet at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.

The banquet is a fund-raiser for the Parkland College Entrepreneurial Program, which provides scholarships to students demonstrating potential as managers, leaders and innovators.

The suggested donation per ticket is $50. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Susan Goldenstein at the Parkland College Foundation, 351-2464. Corporate sponsorships for the event can also be arranged.

Frasca, 81, of Champaign will be the fourth recipient of the award. Winners in previous years were Clint Atkins of The Atkins Group, Rick Stephens of Horizon Hobby and McDonald's franchisee Dwight Miller.

Discussing the selection, Carl Meyer, executive director of the Parkland College Foundation, cited Frasca's innovation and professional growth.

"We're fortunate to have someone who has grown as much as he has in our own backyard," Meyer said.

Frasca International, based at 906 Airport Road, U, employs 208 people.

In a statement released by his daughter, Peggy Prichard, Frasca said he was honored to have been chosen.

"Parkland College is a great asset to our community, both for students and employees," he said. "We have hired many graduates of Parkland for careers at Frasca International."

Born In Melrose Park, Frasca began taking flying lessons at age 14. In 1949, he joined the Navy and worked at Glenview Naval Air Station as an instructor, teaching pilots on the early Link trainers.

After the Korean War, he left the Navy to attend the University of Illinois, where he conducted research in aviation psychology and became more interested in flight simulation.

In 1958, Frasca built his first flight simulator in his garage and founded Frasca Aviation, now called Frasca International.

Today, the company makes flight training equipment for airlines, flight schools and military organizations worldwide.

Over the last 54 years, the company has delivered more than 2,500 flight training devices to more than 70 countries.

Frasca has received many aviation-related awards, including the University Aviation Association President's Award for lifelong commitment to collegiate aviation.

He was inducted into the National Association of Flight Instructors Hall of Fame in 2012, and is also a member of the Chanute Air Force Base Hall of Fame.

Frasca has been active in the Warbirds of America organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Sport Aviation Association.

He was named to the Illinois Aviation Honor Roll in 1993 and was appointed to the Governor's Board of Aeronautical Advisors in 2000.

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