As a former president of Beech Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Frank E. Hedrick believed that a person should do any job assigned better than the job had ever been done before. That philosophy took him through the ranks of Beech, where he started working in 1940 as an assistant coordinator, to the presidency in 1968 were he oversaw the greatest growth of the company’s aircraft sales.
During Mr. Hedrick’s presidency, Beech Aircraft sales attained record highs for nine consecutive years, reaching $907 million in 1981. Company employment increased from 5,700 in 1971 to more than 10,000 in 1981. Hedrick oversaw the entry of the company into the commuter aircraft market with the introduction of the Beech 99 Airliner in 1968. Mr. Hedrick also led the development of the Beech Aero Club which established flying clubs across the country and offered an attractive package of flight instruction, aircraft, and social activities to pilots and their families.
Mr. Hedrick served on the Governor’s Task Force on Effective management in 1973, which was charged with the task of changing the state’s management system. Changes recommended by the Task Force resulted in the State of Kansas saving more than ~10 million.
Mr. Hedrick was a founder and lifetime member of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and served as a director and chairman of the board. He served as past chairman of the Aviational Alliance of Businessmen, past director of the National Aeronautic Association and the National Association of manufacturers. As an honorary member of the National Aviation riall of Fame, Mr. Hedrick served on the organization’s Board of Nominations and in 1976 he was honored at the Reading Air Snow as “General Aviation Man of the year by Ziff-Davis Publishing.
Until his retirement in 1982, Mr. Hedrick was active as an officer and director of Beech’s major subsidiaries and organizations. After his retirement, he continued on the Beech and Raytheon Company boards of directors and as president of the Beech Aircraft Foundation, a charitable organization. Frank Hedrick died on June 4, 1987 in Wichita at the age of 76, but will always be remembered for his achievements and accomplishments in the field of aviation.