Garmin will continue to focus on technical innovations and new product development, according to Phil Straub, the engineer and flight instructor named to lead the Kansas company's recently formed aviation unit.
Straub recently became Garmin's vice president and managing director for aviation, one of a series of management changes that came about when Gary Kelley, the company's veteran marketing vice president, announced he will retire at the end of this year.
“Gary and I both worked directly with the founders of the company when we came to Garmin in the early 1990s,” Straub said. “We share the same values of innovation and providing value for customers.”
Straub will oversee all aspects of Garmin aviation enterprises including product development, flight operations, certification, sales, marketing, and support. He named Carl Wolf as vice president for marketing and sales.
Straub joined Garmin in 1993 as a software engineer and worked on portables such as the GPS 90 and 95XL before moving to certified products such as the GNS430/530 and G1000 integrated avionics suite.
Straub started flying at age 16, and his father owned a 1967 Cessna 150 and a grass runway near Manhattan, Kan. Straub worked as a flight instructor during college at the University of Missouri. He is a multiengine air transport pilot as well as an instrument flight instructor (CFII).
Straub's first contact with a Garmin GPS came while he was a new CFI administering a flight review, and the pilot owned a GPS 55.
“I'd never seen one before,” Straub said. “It was mounted on the yoke, and it was just so cool. I was amazed.”