Charter (800) 381-JETS (5387) FBO(800) 338-KTRM (5876) Maintenance AOG (760) 394-8500

Our Team

Executive Team

Denise Wilson
Denise Wilson

CAM, President and CEO

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 soon 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 airlines, charter companies 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 8900 hours of flight experience, with substantial 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, Saab 340 and Challenger 300. She is also a company Check Airman.

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 and Angel Flight West's Board of Directors.

Denise has been featured, published, and quoted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, USA Today, 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.  She was recently featured in the book "Million Dollar Women" written by Julia Pimsleur and American Express' book, "50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies Guide to Growth".

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 Women in Aviation, Women in Corporate Aviation, Women Presidents’ Organization, Young President's Organization and the National Business Aviation Association.

Brad Elliott
Brad Elliott

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

Brad Elliott

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

As the General Manager of Desert Jet Center, Brad ensures that a first-rate customer service and safety culture exists within all functional teams at the company.

His experience includes 15 years in the Executive FBO industry, starting from the ground up as a Line Technician at Showalter Flying Service and working his way up the ranks through various managerial, marketing and business development roles.

In 2008, he was appointed Bahamas Gateway FBO Specialist with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation and currently is a Bahamas Flying Tour Ambassador. An avid supporter of professional development, Brad served a four-year term on the National Business Aviation Association Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee from 2011 to 2015.

He earned a Bachelor of Science Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and holds a Private Pilot Certificate.

James Logue
James Logue

General Manager, Desert Jet Maintenance

James Logue

General Manager, Desert Jet Maintenance

James has been passionate about aviation from an early age while growing up next to a small airport in Massachusetts. He started taking flying lessons as a teenager, but soon found his mechanical inclinations lead him to pursue a career in aircraft maintenance. James graduated from the National Aviation Academy with his Airframe and Powerplant License, as well as an FCC License and NCATT Certification. James has multiple years of experience with various models of corporate jet aircraft. He has previously worked for Bombardier, Embraer and a leading AOG maintenance provider. James was also an adjunct professor at a community college in Massachusetts where he could spread his passion for aviation and knowledge of aircraft maintenance to the next generation of aircraft technicians. James spends his free time hiking and traveling with his wife as well as volunteering with church youth groups.
Chris Little
Chris Little

Chief Marketing Officer

Chris Little

Chief Marketing Officer

Chris began her marketing career in business aviation services more than 12 years ago, working for an East Coast Part 135 private jet charter and management company and its affiliate FBO.  She established the companies’ marketing department and led successful rebrand strategies and initiatives through multimedia and digital marketing, advertising, PR and event activities. She established greater brand awareness and recognition for her previous company, locally and nationally, increasing sales activities and profitability. Chris also launched several internal communications initiatives which contributed to better workflows, increased efficiencies and promoted a positive company culture. She relocated back to California and worked for an aviation services company which included marketing aircraft for sale and a Part 145 Maintenance and Repair facility. She led a successful brand merge and launched a new website and fresh marketing collateral. Inspired by Desert Jet's CEO and Founder, Denise Wilson, and the values and culture she instilled in her companies and employees, Chris soon joined Desert Jet and moved to the desert to become a part of a remarkable company focused on growing together as a team. Prior to aviation, Chris worked for an entrepreneurial consulting firm where she brought in new franchise opportunities for business ownership. She negotiated franchise agreements with C-Suite executives and founders to expand their business models, and then marketed the opportunities to the franchise consultants through training sessions, seminars, webinars, conferences and website. Dedicated to her role as the Chief Marketing Officer for Desert Jet, Chris will develop and implement a marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, presence and recognition for the company's product lines to increase market share and brand loyalty. She will bring her strong passion for excellence, high work ethics, creativity, analytic skills and enthusiastic determination to enhance the company culture and continued success of the brand. In her spare time, Chris enjoys cooking, socializing and is a foodie. She loves to hike and ride her bike by the beach and is looking forward to doing the same in the desert.
AJ Bonaguro
AJ Bonaguro

Controller

AJ Bonaguro

Controller

Coming Soon!
Toby Benenson
Toby Benenson

Chief Operating Officer

Toby Benenson

Chief Operating Officer

Coming Soon!

Desert Jet Charter

Rob Wilson
Rob Wilson

Pilot, Facilities Manager

Rob Wilson

Pilot, Facilities Manager

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, Westwind and Challenger 300. 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.
Chris Howard
Chris Howard

Pilot

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 has flown the Citation Mustang, CJ3, Excel, and now Gulfstream 200 for Desert Jet. 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.
Najib Atwi
Najib Atwi

Pilot

Najib Atwi

Pilot

Najib is a captain on the Gulfstream 200 for Desert Jet. He has over 9000 hours of flight experience including several years as the Director of Flight Operations for a Part 91 flight department. Najib is a world traveler, having lived in Asia, Europe and Africa. Najib is viewed by his peers as a problem-solver and a great communicator. His hobbies include anything and everything aviation, watching and playing sports, traveling and classic cars.
Jeffrey Irvine
Jeffrey Irvine

Pilot

Jeffrey Irvine

Pilot

Jeffrey Irvine was born with a love of aviation. He has a passion for all aspects of aviation – from piloting the plane, to instructing future aviators, to ensuring his passengers have the best flight experience possible. You can always expect a firm handshake and a smile when you meet him.

Jeff attended Utah State University where he graduated with a BS degree in Aviation Technology. From there, he became an independent flight instructor for a small company in Ogden, UT where he was able to start a “Education in Aviation” program in local schools. This program helped to educate high school students on possible career choices in aviation, and gave them an opportunity to discover flight. Jeff enjoyed teaching so much that he secured a full-time position at a flight school in Phoenix, AZ where he taught for three years.

Jeff was a captain and check airman for a large cargo operation prior to joining Desert Jet.

Jeff speaks German fluently as he lived in Germany for a couple of years doing service for his church. Jeff enjoys the outdoors and has spent many hours volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America as a Scout Master. He has even been known to slip in a few opportunities to earn the Aviation Merit Badge. He loves the game of golf, watching movies with his family, and finding ways to make someone’s day brighter.

Jeff is married to the love of his life, a German red-headed beauty, and together they have two amazing boys. You could say his hands are full, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tyler Thull
Tyler Thull

Pilot

Tyler Thull

Pilot

Tyler Thull joined the Desert Jet team in 2014 as a summer intern where he worked in the charter department and gained valuable experience and insight into the business aviation industry. After his internship, Tyler earned his bachelor’s degree in aviation from Kansas State University Polytechnic where he also worked as a flight instructor. As a flight instructor, he was able to pass along his emphasis on safety and forward thinking to his students from their first flight all the way to their check rides. Alongside the flight instructing position, Tyler looked to seize any opportunity he could to share his passion for aviation and inspire the next generation of aviators. Tyler spent his summers teaching the “Aviation Fixation” camps for elementary and middle school students. These summer camps introduced kids to aviation and the many career possibilities in the industry. While going to college he was a member of the nationally competitive K-State Flight Team where he was able to expand his aviation knowledge and gain valuable flying experience. After graduating, Tyler worked as a transportation pilot flying University officials throughout the Midwest.

Tyler is now a captain on the CJ3 and flies the Challenger 300.

When Tyler is not flying, he enjoys hiking, golfing and playing tennis underneath the desert sun.

Todd Davis
Todd Davis

Pilot

Todd Davis

Pilot

Todd is a Captain on Desert Jet's Citation Bravo and Challenger 300.  Previously, Todd was the founder of a small aircraft management company which he ran for several years before joining Desert Jet.

Todd is a perfect fit in his role as a pilot, with an adventuresome spirit and a love of seeing and experiencing new places.  Not only does he enjoy the charter lifestyle of flying to a variety of new places, but he also enjoys backpacking, camping, and bicycling (both mountain and road) throughout the West Coast with his young family.

Todd is originally from the Pacific Northwest where he attended Walla Walla University, Majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Aviation Technology.

       
Stacy Crawmer
Stacy Crawmer

Charter Coordinator

Stacy Crawmer

Charter Coordinator

Stacy was born and raised in a suburb outside of Columbus, Ohio. Stacy graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio with a degree in Sports Management and a minor in Business Administration and Marketing. Before that, she received an Associate of Science degree from Columbus State. Her first job was at New Albany Country Club as the Golf Shop Attendant, which started her on her country club career path. Her next position was Assistant Clubhouse Manager at Montesoro Golf & Country Club in Borrego Springs, California. Stacy began her career with ClubCorp in 2009 at Porter Valley Country Club in Los Angeles. During her tenure with ClubCorp, she was also the Member Relations Director at Braemar Country Club in Tarzana, California. In 2013, she became the Member Relations Director at Mission Hills and has had the joy of working at an unbelievable club with an outstanding team who have become family for the best members a private club could have on their roster. She has been told that her greatest strengths are her sincerity and ability to build relationships. Stacy has two children and enjoys playing golf, hiking, exercising, and traveling with her family.
Kristin Staszek
Kristin Staszek

Charter Coordinator

Kristin Staszek

Charter Coordinator

Kristin is not only organized, she is on task and always ready to take on the next assignment. Kristin is an integral member of the Charter Department, ensuring follow through on every detail. As a Charter Coordinator for Desert Jet, Kristin is committed to client satisfaction and she will go to any length to get the job done. She has a degree of versatility not only in who she works with, but whatever challenge she is faced with. Her grace under pressure is no doubt due to her background as a Professional Ballroom Dancer. She has been dancing for the past 20+ years, having trained and competed all over the United States with many world class coaches. She defeated the nation in 2004 by winning the Open Amateur American Smooth Championship title for the United States.  Kristin loves to travel and is fascinated with the world of Aviation. She looks forward to what the future holds with Desert Jet!
Steven Thiem
Steven Thiem

Pilot

Steven Thiem

Pilot

Steven grew up in the western farmlands of Phoenix Arizona and has been fascinated with aviation since he was a child. His first taste of aviation came while sitting in the dirt canal of a carrot field. A flight of F-16’s from Luke Air Force Base roared over him; with the intense sound, vibrations of power and strategic maneuvering, the seed was planted.   Steven has been a flight instructor for 7 years and has taught many nationalities including domestic, Chinese and Korean students. He then operated as a Captain, Training Captain and Assistant Training Program Manager for a cargo operator for 3 years throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Upon joining the executive transportation industry, he has provided exemplary service to everyone he meets.  Steven is known to bring a certain southern charm that truly demonstrates one of our Core Values at Desert Jet, helping from the heart. In his spare time, you can find Steven burning calories at the gym, hiking numerous trails, working on personal assignments, and even at the local pool as a volunteer springboard dive coach.
Ryan McNichol
Ryan McNichol

Pilot

Ryan McNichol

Pilot

Ryan McNichol was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. When Ryan was sixteen, he and his family moved to Paris, France. He finished high school there, and then moved to London, England. While in London, Ryan received his pilots license. He then received his ATP while living in Jerez De La Frontera, Spain. He returned to the United States after that, moving to San Francisco to receive his FAA certifications. Before coming to Desert Jet, Ryan was flying Barons, King Airs and CJ3s. In his spare time, he loves playing hockey, swimming, hiking and traveling!
Rafael Luna
Rafael Luna

Charter Coordinator

Rafael Luna

Charter Coordinator

Rafael is from Peru, or the Deep South, as he calls it! Rafael has been working in the aviation industry since high school, starting as a line service technician at Miami International Airport. Rafael worked at the ticket counter for several commercial airliners, coordinated sales for private charters, aided with crew training, and assisted with sales and purchasing of aircraft parts at repair stations before moving to California to be a charter coordinator once again. Rafael has a Bachelors degree in Business and continues to challenge himself daily to master his skills and be a versatile resource for Desert Jet. Rafael is excited for the future of Desert Jet and the growth the company will continue to have. Rafael spent many years playing in “awful” Rock N Roll bands, and even had the opportunity to go on the road across the nation meeting amazing fans and friends the whole way! Now Rafael fills his free time with surfing, hiking, snowboarding, snorkeling, biking, skateboarding and gun range shooting.
Meagan Wood
Meagan Wood

Pilot

Meagan Wood

Pilot

Coming soon!
Dillon Gaines
Dillon Gaines

Pilot

Dillon Gaines

Pilot

  Dillon was born in Vail, but grew up in Meeker, Colorado. After high school, Dillon attended Colorado Northwestern Community College where he completed flight training up through Certified Flight Instructor Instrument and graduated with an Associate’s Degree. He then went to Metropolitan State University of Denver where he pursued a degree in Aviation Technology with a concentration in becoming a Professional Flight Officer. After college, Dillon moved to San Diego where he was a Flight Instructor. He then relocated to Atwater, California and flew tailwheels as an aerobatic instructor. Dillon’s next move took him to Omaha, Nebraska as a freight pilot. Following a friend’s recommendation, Dillon moved to Orange County where he flew in the Pilatus PC-12 and Citation CJ2. While in Orange County, he also completed his Airline Transport Pilot certification. Two years later, Dillon came to Desert Jet because of the company’s distinguished reputation and the network of support and consideration given to their employees. Dillon currently flies the Citation CJ3 as a captain for Desert Jet.
Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

Pilot

Bradley Smith

Pilot

Born and raised in Orange County, California, Bradley has always had an enthusiasm for aviation. A fourth-generation pilot, Bradley earned his private pilot certificate at the age of 17 during his senior year of high school. Bradley departed Southern California to attend Southern Illinois University, Carbondale graduating with an AAS in Aviation Flight and a BS in Aviation Management. During his time in Illinois, Bradley was a flight instructor with SIU as well as with an independent FBO. Outside of instructing, Bradley operated a Cessna 414 for a private client, ferried aircraft for an avionics shop, and briefly flew skydivers. In addition to Bradley’s coursework, he was an active member of the SIU precision flight team. While a Flying Saluki, he enjoyed earning regional championships as well as a national championship from the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA). Bradley was awarded the Top Pilot award in 2016 for the region as well as the #2 Top Pilot award in 2017 at the national SAFECON competition. When not at work, Bradley enjoys flying light aircraft for fun. Bradley is also an avid hockey and baseball fan and enjoys watching his hometown Angels and Ducks play. Bradley has a passion for both photography and cinematography, often combining that with his recreational flying.
Nick Loucks
Nick Loucks

Charter Coordinator

Nick Loucks

Charter Coordinator

Nick was born in Silicon Valley, but spent most of his life in rural Arkansas. He moved back to California 9 years ago. He began working at a Country Club and quickly recognized how much he enjoyed working with people, and how good his social skills were. He later transitioned to the hotel industry, where he went from guest services to sales. Nick honed his sales skills and entered the aviation industry working for one of the largest charter operators in the country. Since day one in the industry, he has been in love with aviation. Nick now brings his experience and broad knowledge of the charter world to Desert Jet. He is a great resource for the team and he is not afraid to take chances in order to grow. Nick’s greatest strengths are his exuberant and genuine personality. His friends often tell him when he is around, that they know it’s going to be a good time! Nick enjoys traveling, being in the middle of the social scene, boating, and exercising, but most of all – eating!! He loves to try new foods and great wine!
Duane Cox
Duane Cox

Flight Following/Dispatch

Duane Cox

Flight Following/Dispatch

Duane left his home in Jacksonville, Florida to serve in the United States Marine Corps as an Air Traffic Controller (ATC), retiring as a Gunnery Sergeant.  In his 20-year Marine Corps career, Duane served as a Radar Controller, Tower Controller, ATC Instructor, Tower Chief, Airfield Operations Chief, Flight Scheduling Chief and ATC Detachment Noncommissioned Officer In Charge. He retired to the California desert, earned his FAA Dispatch license, and has been dispatching for the past 10 years. Duane joined Desert Jet in 2017, bringing with him years of multi-layered aviation leadership experience, a drive for success, and family values. Outside the office, you can find Duane training Brazilian Jujitsu, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Jenna Chase
Jenna Chase

Pilot

Jenna Chase

Pilot

Coming Soon!
Mara'd Smith
Mara'd Smith

Pilot

Mara'd Smith

Pilot

Mara'D Smith is a Captain at Desert Jet.  Prior to joining Desert Jet, she has flown for charter, private, and regional airlines on multiple aircraft including the Legacy 600 and the CRJ-700.  Mara'D has a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Science from Westminster in Utah, a Master's Degree in Aviation Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco, with which she has practiced aviation law. Mara'D enjoys volunteering with the Collings Foundation, where she represents the foundation on the ground and in the air copiloting their B-24, B-17, and B-25 bombers.
Art Dawley
Art Dawley

Vice President of Operations

Art Dawley

Vice President of Operations

Coming Soon!
Joe Madrid
Joe Madrid

Director of Charter Sales

Joe Madrid

Director of Charter Sales

Coming Soon!
Ant Bilsev
Ant Bilsev

Pilot

Ant Bilsev

Pilot

Coming Soon!
Chris Austin
Chris Austin

Chief Pilot

Chris Austin

Chief Pilot

Coming Soon!

Desert Jet Maintenance

Mike Horan
Mike Horan

Maintenance Technician

Mike Horan

Maintenance Technician

Raised in Burbank, right under the flight path to the Burbank Airport, Mike’s passion for aviation began at the young age of five! At ten years of age, Mike had the opportunity to fly with the EAA Young Eagles program and has been hooked ever since.

Mike knew from the start that he wanted to become an A&P mechanic. Understanding the value of having a well-rounded knowledge in aviation, Mike took flying lessons in addition to his education in maintenance. He obtained both his Private Pilot’s license and his A&P license at the age of 19, and hasn’t stopped since.

Mike brings to Desert Jet years of experience on various models of aircraft including Citations, Piaggios, Phenoms, and even a few helicopters! While maintaining aircraft for the Navy, Mike obtained his Flight Attendant rating and worked as a Flight Technician.

Mike has been working on business aircraft for almost 10 years and loves coming into work every day. In his down time, Mike can be found camping, riding motorcycles, working on his car, and spending quality time with his family and friends whom he treasures more than anything else.

Matt Arredondo
Matt Arredondo

Maintenance Technician

Matt Arredondo

Maintenance Technician

Matt's interest in aviation first came from his parents, who both held careers in aviation.  Matt's father was a helicopter maintenance technician who taught Matt the fundamentals of aircraft maintenance while working on the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter.  Matt's mother was a travel agent for Mexicana Airlines who shared stories of travelling to exotic places around the world.  Matt's desire to pursue aviation as a career field led him to Chaffey College where he studied aircraft maintenance and earned his FAA A&P certificate.

Matt joined Desert Jet Maintenance as an Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice and plans to work his way up to being a Aircraft Maintenance Technician under the guidance of his fellow team members.

Deanna Guibault
Deanna Guibault

Parts Clerk and Office Manager

Deanna Guibault

Parts Clerk and Office Manager

Deanna has held many roles throughout Desert Jet, including Parts Clerk and Accountant. Her first introduction to Aviation was during her service in the United States Marine Corp. stationed with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39. She was responsible for managing the supply chain for over 7 different aviation maintenance squadrons. After her military service, she continued her career in warehouse management within the manufacturing industry but her passion for Aviation never left her. Due to recent marriage, she relocated to the Coachella Valley area and decided to pursue an exciting possibly to return to the Aviation field and joined us here at Desert Jet. Deanna earned her degree at the University of California, Long Beach in Operations and Supply Chain Management. She describes herself as an insatiable learner, who loves to read and study new areas of interest. She enjoys volunteering for the community through her church and as a member of the Lions Club.
Luis Ferro
Luis Ferro

Parts Clerk

Luis Ferro

Parts Clerk

Luis is a desert native having been born in Indio and raised in Thermal, California. After high school, Luis attended the College of the Desert and graduated with an Associate’s of Science Degree in Computer Science. Luis initially joined the Desert Jet team as a Line Service Technician.  His interest in aircraft maintenance led him to join the Desert Jet Maintenance team as a parts clerk with the intention of eventually becoming an aircraft mechanics. Away from work, Luis can be found off-roading, shooting and working on cars. Luis always has a smile, and it spreads to the rest of his team.
James Logue
James Logue

General Manager, Desert Jet Maintenance

James Logue

General Manager, Desert Jet Maintenance

James has been passionate about aviation from an early age while growing up next to a small airport in Massachusetts. He started taking flying lessons as a teenager, but soon found his mechanical inclinations lead him to pursue a career in aircraft maintenance. James graduated from the National Aviation Academy with his Airframe and Powerplant License, as well as an FCC License and NCATT Certification. James has multiple years of experience with various models of corporate jet aircraft. He has previously worked for Bombardier, Embraer and a leading AOG maintenance provider. James was also an adjunct professor at a community college in Massachusetts where he could spread his passion for aviation and knowledge of aircraft maintenance to the next generation of aircraft technicians. James spends his free time hiking and traveling with his wife as well as volunteering with church youth groups.
Paul Rodriguez
Paul Rodriguez

Maintenance Technician

Paul Rodriguez

Maintenance Technician

Paul Rodriguez joined Desert Jet with more than six years’ experience in aviation. Paul has both an A&P license and FCC license and has worked on commercial airliners as well as business jets. His experience includes the Boeing 737-400/700/800/900/900ER, Embraer 120,175, Bombardier CJS 200/700/900 and Learjet 35/36. A true native of the Coachella Valley, he was born and raised in Indio, California, where he still resides with his wife and two young daughters.
Valente Camarillo
Valente Camarillo

Maintenance Technician

Valente Camarillo

Maintenance Technician

Valente Camarillo joins Desert Jet with more than 18 years’ experience in aircraft maintenance. Valente attended Red Stone College in Los Angeles, California, where he earned his A&P license. Previously with SkyWest, he became crew leader and spent four years in a supervisory role. Valente was born and raised in Indio, California, and enjoys spending time with his family, playing his guitar and Barbequing on his days off.

Desert Jet Center - Executive FBO

Brad Elliott
Brad Elliott

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

Brad Elliott

General Manager, Desert Jet Center

As the General Manager of Desert Jet Center, Brad ensures that a first-rate customer service and safety culture exists within all functional teams at the company.

His experience includes 15 years in the Executive FBO industry, starting from the ground up as a Line Technician at Showalter Flying Service and working his way up the ranks through various managerial, marketing and business development roles.

In 2008, he was appointed Bahamas Gateway FBO Specialist with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation and currently is a Bahamas Flying Tour Ambassador. An avid supporter of professional development, Brad served a four-year term on the National Business Aviation Association Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee from 2011 to 2015.

He earned a Bachelor of Science Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and holds a Private Pilot Certificate.

Roman Mendez
Roman Mendez

Line Service Manager

Roman Mendez

Line Service Manager

Another one of our Coachella Valley natives, Roman first fell in love with business aviation when he was eighteen. Even though he had never been around aircraft before, his passion was sparked from the moment he heard that first engine start. Since then he has worked in a variety of roles in aviation, from line service technician, customer service, to management. Apart from work, Roman is involved in many activities. His love for the outdoors and trying new things has him engaging in group yoga, football and hiking. Roman is also passionate about volunteerism, as you can find him at local charity events lending a helping hand.
Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez

Line Service Technician

Jorge Rodriguez

Line Service Technician

Jorge is a Coachella Valley native with a strong work ethic and a helpful heart. When he’s not spending time with his family, you can find him at any one of the amusement parks around the area. Jorge has a passion for sports, whether it be playing or watching football, baseball and basketball. He gives back to his community and coaches softball at Coachella Valley High School, where his passion for sports shines through.
Diana Escandon
Diana Escandon

Guest Service Manager

Diana Escandon

Guest Service Manager

Born to an American Military and Foreign Service family in Taiwan, Republic of China, Diana traveled the world widely in her early years, including her father’s posts in Germany, Saudi Arabia and Iran, before finally settling in Southern California. Her decades of professional experience span many diverse fields of aviation at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR), including extensive FBO experience accommodating aircraft ranging in size from single engine props to airline scale jumbo jet executive conversions. She also worked in airline air freight services, airline aircraft maintenance, airline refueling and many other facets of airport ground service activities, including AVI (live animal) specialty air cargo handling. Diana received formal FBO Guest Services training at Hemmeter Aviation in Honolulu, Hawaii. During her previous tenure in FBO Customer Services she received a number of notable special merit recognitions, such as one from the United States Air Force Space Division for excellent accommodation and support in overseeing a US Defense Department refueling contract at LAX. Another was received from Saudi Airlines and the Consul General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for overseeing the travel needs of the flight operations of the Saudi Royal Family at LAX. During this time, she was also recognized for customer service excellence in a number of prominent industry publications both in the USA and in Europe, such as Professional Pilot Magazine and Aviation International News Magazine, as well as Business Aviation & Regional Transport Magazine (BART International). She was proud to have been officially appointed to the European Business Aviation Airports (EBAA) and Handling Committee as the North American Advisor. Diana lives locally with her family, her husband, her mother (91 years young) and her beloved canine “child,” an Irish Setter who is also a show dog, having earned his AKC Championship Title. Diana and her family are members of State and National Irish Setter Clubs. Her Irish Setter has appeared with his sibling in a national automobile television commercial that aired Spring of 2017. In Diana’s personal time, she is a sporting dog fancier and enjoys attending dog shows, she delights in gastronomy and she is keen on current events. Diana is very fond of spending time with her family, dearest friends and her canine child.
Mike Geller
Mike Geller

Line Service Technician

Mike Geller

Line Service Technician

Mike joined the Desert Jet Center team as a Line Service Technician after a 20 year stint in his family's business of building and supplying cars and equipment to movie studios in Los Angeles.  Mike moved from LA to the desert to find a better environment in which to raise his kids.  His hobbies include classic cars, martial arts playing the guitar and of course, spending time with his family.  
Kiersten Rodgers
Kiersten Rodgers

Guest Service Coordinator

Kiersten Rodgers

Guest Service Coordinator

Kiersten was born in Daytona Beach, Florida surrounded by the World’s Most Famous Beach. When she was four years old, she and her family moved to Paducah, Kentucky. Almost finished with elementary school, her parents were called back to her hometown where she spent the rest of her childhood. While in high school, Kiersten took on a full-time job and maintained dual enrollment at her high school and local college. In June of 2014, Kiersten graduated from high school. Just six months after that, in December, she also graduated with her Associates of Art degree with a major in Psychology. She continued her education by attending the University of Central Florida where she pursued a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. Kiersten graduated from the University of Central Florida in May of 2017. During this time, Kiersten started working in customer service for the restaurant industry. She grew from team member to taking on positions of responsibility where she trained new hires. She continued to grow into a supervisor role, with responsibilities of onboarding new hires, creating the schedules of the crew and ensuring the staff delivered high quality customer service. Having served 5 years in the restaurant industry, Kiersten was looking for a change in pace. Having a passion for aviation, she looked to enter the industry to develop her career. She was hired as a Guest Service Coordinator at Desert Jet Center, and loved the new challenges it gave her. With an extensive background in customer service, Kiersten felt a CSR position would be a good starting point for her career in aviation. Outside of work, you can find Kiersten reading her many books, traveling, or trying new places to eat.
Adrienne Herkenhoff
Adrienne Herkenhoff

Guest Service Coordinator

Adrienne Herkenhoff

Guest Service Coordinator

Adrienne was born and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor’s of Art in History. After graduation Adrienne moved to England for the summer polo season and worked as a polo groom. She has also worked as a polo groom in France, Spain Switzerland, California, Florida and the Hamptons. After that, she worked in equine veterinarian hospitals, as a show jumping groom and managed a conditioning center for horses. She moved from Aiken, South Carolina and moved back to California to be back on the West Coast. She had loved the desert when she worked in the polo industry, so she decided to come back. Adrienne came to Desert Jet because she wanted to learn more about aviation and she is constantly seeking to know more about it every day. Away from work, Adrienne loves to travel, read and watch movies. In the future, she hopes to be able to visit her friends she’s made over the years and travel more of the world.
Saul Pompa
Saul Pompa

Line Service Technician

Saul Pompa

Line Service Technician

Coming Soon.
Richard Rasmussen
Richard Rasmussen

Aircraft Detailer

Richard Rasmussen

Aircraft Detailer

Coming Soon.
Michael Bannigan
Michael Bannigan

Guest Service Coordinator

Michael Bannigan

Guest Service Coordinator

Michael Bannigan was born in Florida and raised in Augusta, Georgia until moving to sunny Southern California. After high school at Rancho Santa Margarita, he played collegiate water polo for the UCSB Gauchos, then went on to complete his education in economics at San Diego State University. He has worked for the Ritz-Carlton, the University Club San Diego, and held several positions inside of the American Golf Organization. In these positions, he found a passion for the hospitality industry. After living in Cabo San Lucas on and off for 6 years, Michael began honing his skills in sales by working for Solution Direct Marketing. He called upon Principals, Owners, and General Managers of automobile dealerships throughout the nation to offer a product line that channeled qualified buyers directly to the dealership floor. Michael has a huge passion for live music, golf, fishing, and art. He has brought his life experiences and skills to Desert Jet Center and is very excited about the future of Desert Jet. He is thrilled to be able to contribute to the continued success of the organization.
Alonso Mendoza
Alonso Mendoza

Line Service Technician

Alonso Mendoza

Line Service Technician

Coming Soon!
Tawni Araki
Tawni Araki

Guest Service Coordinator

Tawni Araki

Guest Service Coordinator

Coming Soon!
Bryan Guevara
Bryan Guevara

Line Service Technician

Bryan Guevara

Line Service Technician

Coming Soon!
Steven Carter
Steven Carter

Aircraft Detailer

Steven Carter

Aircraft Detailer

Coming Soon!

Administration

Kristin Gilliam
Kristin Gilliam

Talent and Culture Coordinator

Kristin Gilliam

Talent and Culture Coordinator

Previously the Director of Operations for Desert Jet Center, Kristin is now leading the customer service and charter sales functions for Desert Jet Charter.  Prior to joining Desert Jet Center, Kristin held the position of Customer Service Manager at JFI Jet Center in Long Beach, California.

Away from work, Kristin is a devoted mother to her son Kaden, who inspires her to continually grow and develop.  She loves to dance, hike, and exercise, and enjoys watching the LA Kings and San Diego Chargers play.  Most of all, she loves to spend her free time playing trucks at the park with her son.

Kristin is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach where she earned the Bachelors of Arts degree with a major in Psychology.

Thomas Sully
Thomas Sully

Director of Safety

Thomas Sully

Director of Safety

Thomas Sully has had a love of aviation since he was a little kid; when his father took him and his brother to the NASA Kennedy Space Center to watch the first flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger from the Grand Stand next to the Vehicle Assembly Building. He channeled his love of aviation into a carrier in flight safety that included an internship with the National Transportation Safety Board and a position as a Senior Flight Safety Investigator for a major airline. Thomas spent over 15 years in the airline industry before joining Desert Jet.  He participated in numerous NTSB and other governmental accident investigations ranging from general aviation accidents to large transport category aircraft accidents. Thomas holds a commercial multi-engine pilot certificate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He also received his master's degree in Human Factors from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and received a mechanical engineering degree from Ohio Northern University.  He is an avid Seattle Sounders soccer fan and a technology enthusiast.
AJ Bonaguro
AJ Bonaguro

Controller

AJ Bonaguro

Controller

Coming Soon!
Mari Olivas
Mari Olivas

Staff Accountant

Mari Olivas

Staff Accountant

Coming Soon!
Lindsey Goetz
Lindsey Goetz

Senior Accountant

Lindsey Goetz

Senior Accountant

Coming Soon!

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