Cherry Evans inducted into Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame

Published 9:46 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

They applauded Cherry A. Evans and her accomplishments. The Farmville native was recognized by a packed house this month at the Ford’s Colony Country Club in Williamsburg, where she was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. She was joined by family and friends from Meherrin, Rice, Farmville, Chesterfield and Henrico, as well as Maryland, to receive the honor. The ceremony itself was sponsored by the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society. 

Cherry is the daughter of the late James and Arlene Evans and currently resides in North Chesterfield. After 32 years of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia, she retired in 2017 and always remained dedicated to the transportation sector and aviation industry by serving on the Board of Directors for the Governor’s Transportation Conference.

Detailing the career of Cherry Evans

As the Director of Communications for the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV), she was responsible for directing public relations, aerospace education, marketing, promoting economic development, aircraft registration and legislative affairs. Those programs included the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan designed to promote the Commonwealth’s air transportation system, increase aviation awareness and support growth in the aviation industry.

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Having the opportunity to travel internationally promoting Virginia’s system of airports as economic engines, she was also fortunate to spend time with brigadier generals and astronauts to include General Benjamin Davis and the Tuskegee Airmen, Buzz Aldrin who landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins in 1969 along with Lynchburg’s own Chauncey Spencer, Sr. and Leland Melvin.  Senators, delegates and legislative aides knew her personally.

The majority of her public service career was dedicated to increasing awareness and the importance of education.  She was informed during the ceremony that the state’s aerospace education program that she led over the years was named the best in the nation by the National Association of State Aviation Officials.  

Breaking down her responsibilities

Cherry Evans was also responsible for strategic planning, budget development and business process evaluation. Her division administered a grant-in-aid program that provided financial assistance to local government agencies for public relations, marketing and business plans. Similarly, she directed a program that assisted air carrier airports with air service improvement initiatives.

As DOAV became the nation’s first state agency ISO 9001:2008 and IS-BAO certified, she served on the Management Review Team, Customer Service Committee, developed and implemented the agency’s Communications Plan as well as consistently updated and reviewed the Quality Manual, Strategic Plan and Performance Measures. 

Cherry was hired by the Department of Aviation in 1989 and served as the Department’s sole information contact until 1994 when the Public Relations Division was created. She managed the agency’s public information network, which included the agency’s website, coordinated special events, desktop publishing and aircraft registration. 

As a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising, Cherry Evans began public relations consulting and served as a contractor with the Virginia Podiatric Medical Association, Technology Plus Corporation, Historic Richmond Foundation and Page & Associate Attorneys to name a few. She has held positions with the Department of Planning and Budget, Virginia Commonwealth University as well as the Virginia State Lottery. 

More about Evans’ career

She was a 2006 graduate of Lead VIRGINIA, an executive leadership program dedicated to building social capital and she completed graduate coursework at Central Michigan University with a concentration in Public Administration. In 1995 she graduated from the Virginia Executive Institute, Commonwealth Management Institute and completed private pilot ground school at Dominion Aviation Services at Chesterfield County Airport. She has been a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Women’s Transportation Seminar, Women in Aviation International and Virginia Government Communicators.

She received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Tuskegee Airmen Inc./Hampton University Aviation STEM Academy and early in her career, her paper “Writing the Wrongs: Aviation Awareness and Public Relations” was presented to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta by the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS). She was recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration in 1997 for her contributions to aviation in Virginia and received the Crystal Award for Excellence for the Department of Aviation’s video: “Virginia Aviation-Cleared for Takeoff”. In 1992, she was presented with the Woman of the Year Award from the Richmond chapter of WTS and was recognized by Secretary of Transportation Vivian E. Watts for Volunteer Service in 1989.