AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Alan Ram, the Williamsville native who died in a fiery plane crash Monday in Arizona, is being remembered as a self-starter who was driven to succeed at an early age. And as an adult, someone who became one of the country’s biggest automotive sales trainers.
Ram, who now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., and 22-year-old Krista Buchanan, of Phoenix, died in the crash Monday afternoon in Mesa, Arizona, when the plane he was flying had mechanical trouble, and went down less than a mile from the nearest airport.
Representatives from the FAA told Arizona media that Ram reported mechanical trouble and was on approach to Falcon Field Airport when the plane went down on a fairway at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa.
Although Ram left Western New York after joining the Marines at age 18, he would often come back to train local dealerships, especially Northtown and West Herr.
West Herr Chief Operating Officer Jed Hunter said in a statement late Tuesday the dealership was saddened to hear of Ram’s death.
“He was a very talented trainer, and we appreciated the energy and expertise he shared with us through his company,” Hunter wrote. “Alan had a very simple and sincere way of showing us how to be better performers, but he was also a genuine friend. Our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues impacted by this tragedy.”
Ram conducted training sessions for the past four years with employees of Northtown Automotive.
In fact, David DiPasquale, the general manager of Northtown Lexus, first met Ram when they were 10 years old playing tennis.
DiPasquale said the two remained close, and he provided to News 4 pictures Ram sent him in December featuring his new plane and his fiancée.
In the picture, Ram is wearing a Buffalo Sabres hat, always keeping Western New York close at heart, DiPasquale said.
“They were doing great, and he would always call me and ask me, ‘Are the Sabres going to be good this year?” DiPasquale remembered. “And every year we’d always hope they would, and we’d go see a game once in awhile.”
“I was happy for him because I had met several girlfriends over the past 20 years, but he knew this was the right one,” he added. “And he was really happy. He was very successful in his career. His parents just moved out west. Everything seemed to be in line for him. And he loved flying.”
“I’m just so disappointed when you let me know about the news,” he said. “But you know what, not too many people in this area become that successful nationwide, and hats off to Alan. He stayed in touch with people. If he met you and he liked you, there was always a special place in his heart for you. And it didn’t matter how much money he made, because he was very successful, he stayed in touch with people. And he was very appreciative of relationships.”
DiPasquale said Ram was driven at an early age. He said Ram was 16 when he got a one-on-one interview with Cynthia Dwyer, a woman also from Williamsville, who was released by the Iranians after nine months in 1980.
“He was a junior at Williamsville East (High School), and he’s sitting in Cynthia Dwyer’s living room,” DiPasquale said laughing. “That’s how Alan was, even at 16.”
The crash remains under investigation by the FAA.