The Distinguished Graduate Award was Mr. Richard D. McConn, a member of the Class of 1966. Following his graduation, Mr. McConn served the Air Force as an intelligence officer. At a very junior rank, he was assigned to Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado, as the Chief Instructor of the Mobile Computer Training Team that pioneered intelligence data collection in the Air Force. Subsequent assignments took him to Washington D.C. where he served in the office of the USAF Vice Chief of Staff and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and then as a White House Aide to the President. After leaving active duty, he remained in the Air Force Reserve and served in a key position in the office of the USAF Chief of Staff. As a civilian, through talent and hard work, he built a multi-million dollar international logistics enterprise that is known for integrity and ethical conduct. Currently, he owns several companies with offices in Morocco, Tunisia, UAE, Jordan, Pakistan, Germany and Taiwan. Throughout his life, he has been a strong supporter of education. In his home state of North Dakota, he established an Aerospace Scholarship Endowment at the University of North Dakota. Seeing the need for additional opportunities for Academy graduates to prepare themselves for leadership positions in America, he established the McConn Scholars program which sends 2-3 active duty USAFA graduates to Georgetown University for a Master's Degree in Public Policy. After finishing their degree, these graduates spend at least the next year serving on a Congressional staff. The result is to give future senior officers a thorough understanding of how the U.S. government works. Mr. McConn was a founding director of the USAFA Endowment and was influential in getting Congress to pass the law which enabled the establishment of the Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation, a non-profit entity that will raise money to operate and improve the Academy's intercollegiate athletics programs.



Mr. Bishop has been at the forefront of a very niche, yet critical field in aviation since 2008.  Mr. Bishop is a FAA certificated Powerplant Mechanic and a FAA Bronze Award Recipient.  Mr. Bishop specializes in the field of T53 turbine engine TA-7 Main Fuel Regulators and PTG-3 Overspeed Governors.

Upon starting Southwest Fuel Systems in 2008, he has worked tirelessly with the OEM, Triumph Engine Controls, to ensure the highest quality standards in the industry.  He is also noted by the OEM as a TA-7 and PTG-3 Subject Matter Expert and certified instructor consistently sought out for training, trouble shooting, and general knowledge within this critical area of helicopter maintenance by both the OEM and field users.

Mr. Bishop has received critical acclaim for his training of engineers and technicians at Triumph Engine Controls, and from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for his expert training and participation during the CAL-Fire industry event.

  • 1993-99           Aircraft Powerplant Repairer, United States Army
  • 1999-01           Turbine Engine Technician, Pueblo Airmotive (Timken Overhaul Services)
  • 2001-07           Turbine Engine/Fuel Systems Manager, Timken Overhaul Services
  • 2008-Current   President, Southwest Fuel Systems
  • 2000 NOV        Certified by Triumph (formerly Chandler Evans) as a TA-7 and PTG-3 Technician
  • 2010 FEB         Certificated FAA 145 Repair Station
  • 2011 FEB         Certificated Triumph Authorized Service Center