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Travis Burke’s Work at Wright-Patterson is Chance to Serve Country

Aviation has been a part of Dayton’s history since the time of Orville and Wilbur Wright.  In 1904, the Wright brothers began making use of the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, an 84-acre plot of land, for their test flights.  From 1910-1916 they operated The Wright Company School of Aviation at Huffman Prairie, which would eventually become designated a National Historic Landmark.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, three military installations were established in Dayton, two of which eventually became Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  Today, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is an integral part of the Air Force.  Serving as the headquarters for the Air Force’s worldwide logistics system and all Air Force systems development and procurement, Wright-Patterson has the second largest Air Force medical center, is the heart of Air Force graduate education, and is the home of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.*

Travis Burke ’10 today works as a contract negotiator at this historic and important military facility.  A native of Northern Kentucky, he attended the University of Kentucky for his undergraduate degree before receiving a fellowship at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. There, he met his (now) wife, Fanny Delaunay ‘14.  After graduating from UK, Burke went directly to law school.  Influenced by the knowledge that his grandfather served in the Army during World War II, Burke forayed into public service with a JAG internship during his second year at UC Law.  “I knew I enjoyed serving my country, it felt rewarding,” he said of his experience, “and I want to spend a career doing it.” 

Burke works in the C-130J program office procuring C-130J aircraft from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer.  “A lot goes into buying a plane.  It’s not just paying a price and driving or—in our case—flying the plane off the lot,” he explained.  “You have to think about things like spare parts, support equipment, warranty coverage, having folks around (we call them field service representatives) that know how to troubleshoot and correct issues with the plane, etc.”  More specifically, Burke works in the foreign military sales (FMS) department, working to procure aircraft for military/strategic partners with the U.S.

Since graduating he has had opportunity to practice in the private sector.  “I still do have my own private practice where I selectively take on matters that interest me,” he said, “but ultimately, big law is, in my opinion, really a life-altering career path that consumes your life.”  He shared his perspective on work/ family life balance, quoting an anecdote a colleague said to him a few years back:  “You never spend time on your deathbed wishing you had worked more Saturdays, or missed more of your kid’s soccer games; in fact, it's the opposite.”  Burke has taken this to heart and enjoys finding the balance in both his work and his family life.  “I’ve found a great balance between doing something I’m passionate about, and being able spend time with my family and enjoy my free time.”


*Info from the first two paragraphs from