Meet the Desert Jet Team!
Denise Wilson, CAM, President and CEO
Denise Wilson founded Desert Jet in 2007 with the intent of bringing the desert’s corporate flight departments together as a cooperative to reduce the cost of aircraft operating expenses. This cooperative expanded to fill the need for a quality private jet charter service in the region.
Denise’s experience prior to forming Desert Jet includes both flying and management positions for several airline, charter and corporate flight departments. Her expertise is in aircraft acquisition and management as well as in the implementation of programs to enhance the safety of flight operations. She provides turbine transition, initial operating experience and standardization training for pilots new to aircraft type, specializing in the Citation family of aircraft.
Denise is qualified by the National Business Aviation Association as a Certified Aviation Manager (CAM). She has approximately 7000 hours of flight experience, with over 3000 hours of pilot in command and single pilot experience in Citations (Citation Encore, Bravo, Ultra, Excel, 501, II, S/II, V, CJ, CJ1, CJ2, CJ3). She has type ratings in the Citation 500 and 525 series, Gulfstream III, Boeing 737, Hawker 1000, Westwind and the Saab 340. She is the company’s Check Airman.
Denise was named one of 2013′s Enterprising Women of the Year. Denise was a finalist in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2010 contest, in the Emerging Entrepreneur category. She was the keynote speaker at the Women in Aviation, International Conference in 2010 and a presenter on the topic of vetting business jet providers at the National Business Aviation Association’s Annual Conference in 2011. She has been featured, published, and quoted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Aviation for Women Magazine, Palm Springs Life, Twin and Turbine Magazine, AutoPILOT Magazine, FlyCorporate Magazine, NBAA’s Business Insider as well as several local and regional publications. She is the author of “The Definitive Guide to Supplemental Lift”, a publication written to assist in choosing a private aviation provider.
Denise attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Music Performance (Oboe), and attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree and minored in Aviation Safety. She is a member of Angel Flight West, Women in Aviation, Women in Corporate Aviation, Women Presidents’ Organization, CEOs Against Cancer and the National Business Aviation Association.
Suzie Chesire, Director of Operations
Suzie Chesire joined Desert Jet as a Captain, and quickly showed her leadership and creative problem-solving skills. As Director of Operations she ensures we continue to offer the Desert Jet signature service levels as we grow our business, bringing together all departments to our common goal.
Prior to joining Desert Jet, Suzie progressed her way to Senior Captain for a charter company in San Diego, where she earned a reputation for personal service that made her a client favorite.
Her caring disposition, along with her love for people has led her to enjoy the spirit of volunteering. Her passion for safety, while providing the utmost comfort for the customer guides her to success.
James Silverman, Director of Maintenance
James Silverman brings over 25 years of aircraft maintenance experience and expertise to his role as Director of Maintenance for Desert Jet. In addition, James is the Manager for Desert Jet Maintenance, specializing in maintenance specific to the Cessna Citation model aircraft.
James grew up in an aviation family and recalls going to airshows with his family. His father recently retired after 46 years with the Grumman Aerospace Corporation as an engineer. His brother is also a retired Lt Colonel & pilot in the United States Air Force.
James’ extensive experience includes key positions such as Citation fleet manager at a large aircraft charter and management company as well as Director of Maintenance for a Part 135 operator. Jim has had factory training on most Cessna Citation model aircraft as well as P&W and Williams International engines. He holds both FAA Airframe & Powerplant licenses plus an Inspection Authorization.
James loves spending time riding motorcycles and off road vehicles at the desert with his family as well as boating and other outdoor activities.
Teresa Hughes, Director of Business Development
Teresa Hughes leads Desert Jet’s Orange County charter location and oversees the operations of Desert Jet’s fleet of jet aircraft. As an FAA certificated Aircraft Dispatcher, Teresa has years of experience dispatching large fleets of aircraft.
She joins Clair Burke and Kelly Mason in Desert Jet’s high-powered charter team as they strive to provide the industry’s most responsive charter service levels.
Before joining Desert Jet, Teresa managed the Operations Control Center for Avantair, a large fractional aircraft company operating over 50 aircraft. Prior to her long tenure at Avantair, she was the charter coordinator for a seven aircraft jet charter company.
Clair Burke, Director of Charter Sales
Clair Burke joined the Desert Jet team in 2010 and quickly earned her reputation for excellence. She brings a long history of customer service and sales experience to her role in the charter department at Desert Jet. Clair schedules client flights and coordinates specialty services such as passenger ground transportation and inflight catering. She provides the classic Desert Jet “above and beyond” service in an amazingly effortless manner. Clair’s professionalism, charming voice, and quick wit serve her well as she synchronizes the multitude of details needed to ensure a perfect trip for our clients.
Nick Sanders, Chief Pilot
Nick Sanders joined Desert Jet as a captain on the Citation fleet. Nick began his aviation pursuits at a young age and earned his pilot’s license while still in high school. Nick’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start-up his own aircraft management company right out of college. He continues his entrepreneurial pursuits today as the founder and president of a janitorial company with over 30 employees.
Prior to joining Desert Jet, Nick served as Chief Pilot for a Las Vegas-based aircraft charter and management company. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology – Professional Pilot from Utah State University, with type ratings in the Citation 500 series and the Lear Jet.
Formerly Desert Jet’s Director of Safety, Nick has instituted several safety initiatives and promoted safety as an integral part of every team member’s responsibility. Nick was the recipient of NBAA’s Corporate Aviation Management scholarship award in 2012. As Chief Pilot, Nick ensures that Desert Jet pilots are trained to the highest standards and deliver an exceptional experience.
Nick takes pride in ensuring that his passengers feel safe and always have a positive and comfortable flying experience. Nick says his nicest compliment from a passenger was given to him by Bette Midler, who said his landings were the best she ever experienced, making Nick “the wind beneath her wings.”
Brad Lindow, Director of Safety
Brad Lindow was convinced he wanted to be a pilot ever since he attended an aviation summer camp as a teenager. He was mentored by the training director of a major airline and was offered the opportunity to take his first flight lesson in the right seat of a Boeing 747.
Brad graduated with highest honors from the University of North Dakota where he was a recipient of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences Flight Scholarship. He brings years of corporate aviation experience to Desert Jet as a pilot for a charter operator in San Diego, mentor-pilot/instructor for pilots transitioning to their first turbine aircraft and as an aircraft manager for private individuals. Brad enjoys the personal interaction with passengers and strives to exceed their expectations during each experience at Desert Jet.
As Director of Safety, Brad sets the standard for safety throughout the company and ensures 100% participation in our active Safety Management System.
Brad and his wife recently welcomed their second daughter to their family. When he isn’t flying, Brad enjoys playing with his young family.
Rob Wilson, CAM, Pilot
Rob Wilson has over 23 years of flying experience and is qualified by the National Business Aviation Association as a Certified Aviation Manager (CAM). His previous experience includes the positions of Director of Operations and Chief Pilot for several charter and corporate flight departments. Previous to beginning his corporate flight career, Rob was a Captain, Check Airman and standardization pilot for a large national airline.
Before he started his flying career, Rob was a producer, engineer, consultant, and on-air talent at a number of radio stations across the country, including KIFM and KGB-FM in San Diego and WNUA-FM in Chicago. Rob produced “A Touch of Jazz”, a syndicated weekly radio program on over 90 stations that featured contemporary jazz and was hosted by radio legend Allison Steele, New York’s “Nightbird”. He also ran his own production company, recording jingles and background music for radio station’s musical logos and commercials.
Rob has over 11,000 hours, over 9000 of this as pilot in command. He has type ratings in the Citation 500 and 525 series, Citation Mustang, Saab 340, Hawker 1000 and the Westwind.
Rob attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he majored in Professional Aeronautics and was on the Dean’s List.
Brendan Springer-Davis, Pilot
Brendan Springer-Davis learned to fly while in high school. After completing his pilot studies and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science with a minor in Meteorology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he began an internship which led to a decade of employment with a corporate flight department. His experience includes flying the Citation Encore, V, Bravo and Falcon 900 as well as managerial experience as an assistant Chief Pilot for a charter company.
A captain on Desert Jet’s fleet of Citation jets, he also manages Desert Jet’s extensive fuel procurement program, which averages a savings of over $10,000 per month for each of our aircraft’s fuel purchases. In addition, Brendan ensures that all aircraft meet the aesthetic standards expected by our clients through regular quality assurance audits.
Brendan’s ever-positive outlook on life and his ambition to progress his career in aviation inspire all those that come in contact with him.
Tara Terhorst, Director of Training
Tara Terhorst joined Desert Jet with significant experience in the Citation V and Citation Bravo, as well as experience flying for both airline and charter operations. A driven and goal-oriented individual, Tara knew from an early age that she wanted to be a pilot. In fact, she still has a copy of the report she wrote in the third grade on Amelia Earhart’s adventures.
Tara was born in the Netherlands and speaks fluent Dutch. Her passion for aviation was sparked by the desire to travel. She graduated from high school early, at the age of 16, and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, graduating magna cum laude.
Tara’s volunteer experience includes working with the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago, Youth Outreach tutoring programs and working with children with disabilities.
Jason Herman, Assistant Chief Pilot
Jason Herman first took the controls of an airplane when he was 7 years old. Under the instruction of his father and grandfather, he accomplished his first solo flight on his 16th birthday and earned his first pilot certificate the following year.
Jason’s involvement in aviation runs deep. His background includes several years in the role of flight coordinator for a large charter company in the Northeast in addition to his experience flying various turbine aircraft. He holds Cessna Citation 525 series and Citation Mustang type ratings for single pilot operations. As the Assistant Chief Pilot, Jason currently crews our Citation CJ3 and Citation Mustangs and helps oversee pilot training, regulatory compliance, and safety audits.
Jason attended Purdue University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology and graduated with highest distinction, in three years. He was also the recipient of the prestigious CAE SimuFlite CitationJet Type Rating Scholarship and NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers Scholarship in 2012.
James Walsh, Pilot
James Walsh fostered his interest in aviation from an early age, earning his first pilot certificate while still in high school. He then followed this passion into the Navy where he spent eight years fostering his interest in multiple facets of aviation. While in the Navy he gained experience as an Avionics technician as well as an Air Traffic Controller.
Following his eight years with the Navy, James decided to follow his dream of becoming a commercial pilot. During this time he managed his own flight school before gaining experience as a pilot in a corporate flight department. Before joining Desert Jet, James was able to further his wide range of experiences in aviation, including spending time flying life-flights for a hospital and flying for a major airline.
Through his years in aviation, James has made it his goal to become a well rounded and dependable industry professional, with a passionate focus on customer service and safety.
Sarah Hughes, Pilot
Sarah Hughes joined Desert Jet as a captain on our Citations. Sarah’s previous experience includes flying as a captain on aircraft as diverse as the Westwind and the Citation Bravo as well as instructing pilots at the Air Force Academy.
Sarah grew up with an interest in aviation, having been influenced to become a professional pilot while visiting AirVenture in Oshkosh with her father. She began flight lessons in college where she graduated with honors and immediately began a career as a pilot.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and their many animals. She is a wine enthusiast and knows every vintage available. She is also active in her church community and hopes to complete her second half-marathon in the near future.
Brendon Everswick, Pilot
Brendon Everswick joined Desert Jet as a captain on the Citation fleet. He was born in Zimbabwe, Africa and his interest in aviation and desire to become a pilot began at an early age. He studied Aviation Management at Southern Illinois University and currently holds type ratings on the Citation CJ series, Mustang and the Beechcraft Premier with extensive single pilot operations experience. Over the last 8 years Brendon has flown for both charter and corporate flight departments.
When not flying he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 year old son, sports and playing the guitar.
Debby Laslo, Pilot
Debby’s love of aviation was planted early on by her mother worked for KLM which allowed her family to travel the world. This love of travel led Debby to first join the aviation industry as a flight attendant for a major airline, mostly working first class international routes. A 747 captain at the airline took Debby up for her first flight lesson, showing her aerobatics, looping and rolling through the sky. Debby was hooked and began her progression as a pilot, earning her wings while also continuing to work at the airline.
Debby has a degree in Aviation Science and she was the recipient of the Citation Jet Type Rating Award from the Southern California Aviation Association in 2012.
Debby’s attention to detail, eagerness to go the extra mile and passion for aviation make her a perfect fit at Desert Jet. When Debby isn’t flying professionally she enjoys flying small airplanes participating in her favorite sport – competitive aerobatic flying. She also loves animals and spending time with her family.
Kay Creed, Accountant
Kay Creed brings over 25 years of accounting and human resources experience to her position at Desert Jet. Kay handles all aspects of the financial tracking for all the managed aircraft in Desert Jet’s fleet, as well as accounts receivable and payable. “Numbers are my thing,” admits Kay. A Southern California native, Kay previously worked in public accounting, juggling over 60 different company accounts simultaneously.
Kay is an avid supporter of many local organizations, such as Relay for Life and the Soroptimist House of Hope, where she volunteers as Treasurer. In addition, she runs Desert Jet’s employee efforts to raise funds for a different employee-chosen charity each month.
Paul Alexander, Maintenance Technician
Paul Alexander joins the Desert Jet team with several years of experience specializing in the Cessna Citations, such as the CJ3, V, S/II, and Bravo as well as Beech King Air and Lear aircraft. He assists James Silverman, Director of Maintenance, in ensuring Desert Jet’s fleet is always ready for flight.
Paul graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Graphic Design, followed by several years of successful work as a web and graphic designer before realizing his true calling was in aviation. The hardworking and detailed mindset he developed in the design world, he now brings to the aviation world.
Along with his passion for aviation, Paul spends his time in a wide array of activities such as motorcycle riding, hiking, astronomy, traveling, music, photography, juggling, and reading.
Kelly Mason, Charter Coordinator
Kelly Mason joins the Desert Jet team in the charter department with years of professional experience and community involvement that make her vital to the success of the operation. Originating from the San Francisco Bay area before relocating to Palm Desert, Kelly has committed herself to a career in customer service as well as sales and public relations. This experience along with her participation in community organizations such as the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce shed light on her determination to make every customer’s experience a positive and rewarding interaction.