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February 15 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
We will be welcoming our speaker, Owen Barker this Wednesday at the Athens Ben Epps Airport in the Commercial Terminal at 6:30.
Owen Barker is a Law Enforcement Aviator, currently serving as Chief Pilot for the SC Department of Natural Resource’s Law Enforcement Division. He has been Chief Pilot at DNR for 16 years. Owen has 23 years in the law enforcement field having served on the federal, state, and local level.
Owen is originally from Allendale, SC. He is a graduate of Presbyterian College with a BS in History and a minor in Athletic Coaching. He has a master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Student Personnel Services. Owen spent his first twelve years after college working in higher education.
Owen had a life-long desire to fly. A color vision deficiency precluded him from flying for the Marine Corp after graduating college. Not to be deterred, Owen started working on his PPL and soloed on 12 Feb., 1990. He acquired his private ticket in 1992 and immediately started flying for CAP (Civil Air Patrol). Within a few months, Owen was a Mission-rated pilot for CAP flying SAR, DR, and counter-drug sorties in Kentucky. He spent five years flying in KY which solidified his desire to serve others from the air.
While working in education, Owen continued flying, training, and acquiring additional ratings. He earned his instrument rating in 1997 and his commercial (single) license in 1999. In 1999, Owen started his career in law enforcement. He was hired by the City of Charleston (SC) as a police officer/pilot to fly the unit’s Cessna 182. Owen enrolled in Comair’s Airline Training Academy in Orlando in 2001. Even after 9/11, the prevailing thought was that airline hiring would rebound to levels never seen before. That did not materialize, and Owen returned to LE with the US Border Patrol where he was assigned to Casa Grande, AZ in the Tucson Sector. Having married a UGA graduate from south GA in 2002, Owen saw the “writing on the wall” and moved back to SC after taking a position working for the state’s Emergency Management Division. This would become a serendipitous decision in Owen’s life.
While employed at SCEMD, Owen worked closely with members of the SCDNR Command Staff. In 2007, the Chief Pilot position with SCDNR became available. Owen was selected for the position, and he remains in this role today. He has accumulated 6000+ LE/Natural Resource flight hours flying for SCDNR.
SCDNR’s Aviation Unit is based at CAE (Columbia Metro). Owen lives in Forest Acres, SC with wife, Wendy, and son, Owen III.