loader image

DENISE WILSON

ABOUT DENISE

A little about my career

I have enjoyed several exciting career fields – first as a professional freelance oboist and music teacher.  Many of my students went on to become accomplished professional musicians in their own right.  

My second career was as a flight instructor which quickly progressed to the role of professional pilot.  Over my 20+ year career as a pilot, I amassed a vast amount of experience to include promoting to airline captain, flying jets as large as the Boeing 737, flying a wide range of corporate jets, and ultimately developing into roles that evaluated other pilots, such as Check Airman and Chief Pilot.  I was a part of the development of hundreds of pilots and was a strong advocate for women to consider roles in aviation.

My third career was as an entrepreneur.  I founded Desert Jet in 2007 and led the company as CEO through high growth periods.  While at Desert Jet I accomplished the following;

  • Founded three Desert Jet companies (an aircraft charter company, a jet maintenance business and a private jet terminal operation) and grew revenues to $20 million annually with no debt or investors with a team of 50 employees.
  • Led Desert Jet to rank on the Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest growing, privately owned companies five years straight, with the highest ranking at #69 in 2012.
  • Grew Desert Jet to one of the 50 Fastest Growing Women Owned/Led Companies Worldwide in 2014
  • Led Desert Jet to be named one of the Best Entrepreneurial Companies in the US by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2015

Now, I have embarked on my fourth exciting career, utilizing my 20+ years of piloting experience and business acumen to help my clients realize their dream of jet ownership.  My company, The Jet Agent, helps buyers and sellers of Citations achieve their dream outcome in the transition to their first or next jet.

My first book, “The Insider’s Guide to Buying and Selling Jets” has been published.  Additionally, I am in the process of writing a book detailing stories from my journey to help others navigate the road to entrepreneurialism.

Personal Achievement Highlights

I feel lucky every day that I have enjoyed so many diverse pursuits over the span of my career. Here are some of the achievements I’m most proud of;

  • I’m the first woman pilot in the aviation industry to start and build a charter/management company, maintenance repair station and FBO (private jet terminal, jet fuel sales and ground handling company) from the ground up.

  • I was named one of “Ten Top Women CEOs on the Inc. 500 List” by Inc. Magazine in 2012.

  • I was chosen as a winner of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program in 2013.

  • I was one of six participants globally in EY’s Ready, Set, Grow Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program in 2014.

  • I was a recipient of WBENC’s Dorothy B. Brothers Leadership Award in 2012.

  • I was the author of aircraft charter industry resource, “The Definitive Guide to Supplement Lift” and the new release “The insider’s Guide to Buying and Selling Jets”.

  • I was the keynote speaker at events including American Express CEO Bootcamp, National Business Aviation Association Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference, Women in Aviation International Conference and presenter on the topic of vetting business jet providers at the National Business Aviation Association’s Annual Conference.

  • I have been featured, published, and quoted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Business Jet Traveler, Forbes, Fox Business, CNBC, Palm Springs Life, MSNBC, Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, and Aviation for Women Magazine.

  • I was one of the first women in aviation to earn Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) certification and represent the group as a Director on the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)’s Certified Aviation Manager Governing Board.  Other board experience includes the Enterprising Women Advisory Board, Angel Flight West, Desert Jet’s board, the Alpine Airpark board and the MusicaNova Orchestra board.

  • I have over 9000 hours of flight experience with 8 type ratings and am a former airline/corporate/charter pilot. I first upgraded to airline captain in September of 2001 and earned my first jet type rating, in the Citation CJ, in November 2001.

PRESS

I am a vocal advocate for business aviation and the promotion of women in leadership roles in male-dominated industries. I am frequently called to provide the perspective of a woman entrepreneur growing a business in aviation, and am a consultant for my clients who want forthright advice and guidance on how to use private aviation efficiently.

I’ve been interviewed, published and quoted in numerous publications and by various news outlets, including Inc. Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Fox Business, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MSNBC, CNBC, USA Today, Palm Springs Life Magazine, WCBS-NY and PBS.

Contact Me

Contact Me

Private Aviation