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 and eventually resulted in Desert Jet landing on the Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies multiple years in a row.
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 7500 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 on the CE500 and CE525 series aircraft.
In 2014, Denise was one of six selected globally to participate in EY’s Ready, Set, Grow program held in Monaco concurrently with the Entrepreneur of the Year event. Denise was named a national winner of 2013 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program and 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.
Denise is a frequent guest speaker. She was the keynote speaker at the American Express CEO BootCamp in Los Angeles in 2014, 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.
Denise is active in leadership roles as a member of the Enterprising Women Advisory Board as well as a Director on the National Business Aviation Association’s Certified Aviation Manager Governing Board.
Denise has been featured, published, and quoted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Business Jet Traveler, Forbes, Fox Business, Palm Springs Life, Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, and Aviation for Women Magazine. She is the author of “The Definitive Guide to Supplemental Lift”, a publication written to assist consumers 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 and the National Business Aviation Association.
Sam Wolf, Chief Operating Officer
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.
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.
Ashley Brown, Charter Coordinator
Ashley joins the Desert Jet team having completed the FAA approved CTI program for Air Traffic Control, accumulating degrees in Flight Technology, Aircraft Dispatch, and Air Traffic Control, as well as her FAA Aircraft Dispatcher License. She was also nominated for the Outstanding Woman Leadership Award in 2013 and graduated with Highest Honors. Beyond her love of aviation, Ashley has an extensive background in customer relations and brings a tireless work ethic to the Desert Jet team.
Ryan Pike, Chief Pilot
Ryan joined Desert Jet with experience as a Chief Pilot, Check Airman and Captain for a large charter company in the Pacific Northwest. His experience includes flying in a wide variety of operations such as corporate, charter, air ambulance and freight.
Ryan first became interested in aviation while attending airshows with his father at an early age and began taking flying lessons while in high school. He furthered his education by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
When not flying airplanes, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, reading, woodworking and being an active member of his church.
Rob Wilson, CAM, Pilot
Rob Wilson has over 25 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. He is the company’s Check Airman in the Mustang.
Rob attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he majored in Professional Aeronautics and was on the Dean’s List.
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.
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.
Caroline Brozovich, Pilot
After her first flight in a small aircraft, Caroline knew instantly that she wanted to pursue a career as a professional pilot. She first recognized the opportunities in corporate aviation after a summer internship during college with Assessment Compliance Group, a company specializing in aviation manual development and aviation training, where she worked closely with the leaders of several large corporate flight departments to document their processes and procedures. A second internship occurred with Duke Energy’s aviation department where she assisted in research associated with the merger with Progress Energy and solidified her desire to pursue aviation as a career. Before joining the Desert Jet team, Caroline flew the Hawker 800 and 800XP for a charter company in Florida.
Caroline attended the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor in Air Traffic Control.
In addition to her already-expansive aviation experience, she also is an FAA certificated aircraft dispatcher, experienced in aviation law and volunteers as an EAA Young Eagles Instructor Pilot, a program that provides free introductory flights to encourage kids to become our next generation of pilots. She gives back to her community by volunteering as a leader in ERAU day camps focused on introducing young girls to aviation.
As a well-rounded aviation professional, Caroline expanded her aviation horizons by working as a legal associate at an aviation law firm and becoming an FAA certificated aircraft dispatcher.
Outside of aviation, Caroline enjoys running, hiking, scuba diving and lots of chocolate.
Chris Howard, Pilot
Chris Howard joined the Desert Jet team with a long love of aviation, inspired by his first flight on a Boeing 737 with his father, who was also a pilot. He is originally from Australia and has gained experience teaching international flight students as well as flying charter and aeromedical flights in various turbine aircraft. Chris holds both FAA and Australian pilot certificates and currently crews our Citation Mustang and CJ3.
When Chris is not flying, he enjoys spending time with his family and watching his favorite Australian sports, rugby and cricket. He also finds time to go hiking, play volleyball, and catch up on a good novel.
Elena Monroe, Pilot
Elena is copilot on our Citation 500 and 510 series aircraft. She attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and majored in Aeronautical Science with a minor in Meteorology. Aside from her passion for teaching and fostering the pure joy of flying, Elena is always looking for ways to give back to the community. She has a history of volunteering at local animal shelters and the Children’s Hospital in her native San Diego. Excited to be apart of the team, she aspires to make the most out of every flight for the customer in terms of service, safety, and adventure.
In her free time she enjoys decorating, hiking, and is learning to golf the Palm Springs way!
Alan Hunt, Pilot
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 and regularly donates her hair to organizations that provide free wigs to cancer survivors.
Jeff Klingenberg, Director of Maintenance
Paul Alexander, Maintenance Technician
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.
Daniel Fell, Maintenance Technician
Larry Gase, Maintenance Technician
Larry is a Quality Control Manager and Maintenance Technician for Desert Jet Maintenance. He holds inspection authorization and has 18 years of experience maintaining Citations at a Citation Service Center and working in the Citation factory. Larry attended the Spartan School of Aeronautics where he obtained his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate.
Larry’s love of aviation goes back to his childhood when his father took him to see a DC-3. He has been hooked on the beauty of flying ever since, also pursuing flying lessons and becoming a private pilot.
Larry is a proud father of two beautiful teenage daughters and in his free time enjoys traveling and experimenting in the kitchen.