MENU

Meet the Priester
Aviation Team

Our aviation professionals are here to serve you and enhance your flight and operations experience.

Andy Priester

Chairman & CEO

Andy Priester serves as Priester Aviation’s Chairman and CEO.

He is the third generation of Priesters to lead the business, the largest and oldest family-owned Management and Charter company in the world. The Priester family has a rich aviation history starting in 1945 including owning Palwaukee Airport – KPWK (now renamed Chicago Executive Airport), operating a flight school, operating multiple FBOs, providing 145 maintenance services, and operating an aircraft sales division. Priester Aviation currently focuses solely on Aircraft Management and Global Charter after the strategic sale of the other business units. In this role, Andy is dedicated to leading the growth of the organization and enhancing Priester’s position as the preeminent choice in aircraft management, aircraft charter and related aviation services. During Andy’s tenure at Priester, he has grown the fleet from seven aircraft to over 65 aircraft they manage from 15 bases globally today.

Andy currently sits on the board of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, is current Chair of YPO Chicago – Windy City, and past Chair of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). Andy is a proud University of Dayton Flyer and holds a Master’s degree from Concordia University.

Andy is the proud father of Madison who coordinates Priester Aviation’s marketing efforts and Quinn who is a professional baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Andy participates philanthropically at his local Food Pantry, the Chicagoland Urban League, and Feed My Starving Children. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends in the mountains, on the water, or exploring the outdoors.

Andy Priester serves as Priester Aviation’s Chairman and CEO.

He is the third generation of Priesters to lead the business, the largest and oldest family-owned Management and Charter company in the world. The Priester family has a rich aviation history starting in 1945 including owning Palwaukee Airport – KPWK (now renamed Chicago Executive Airport), operating a flight school, operating multiple FBOs, providing 145 maintenance services, and operating an aircraft sales division. Priester Aviation currently focuses solely on Aircraft Management and Global Charter after the strategic sale of the other business units. In this role, Andy is dedicated to leading the growth of the organization and enhancing Priester’s position as the preeminent choice in aircraft management, aircraft charter and related aviation services. During Andy’s tenure at Priester, he has grown the fleet from seven aircraft to over 65 aircraft they manage from 15 bases globally today.

Andy currently sits on the board of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, is current Chair of YPO Chicago – Windy City, and past Chair of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). Andy is a proud University of Dayton Flyer and holds a Master’s degree from Concordia University.

Andy is the proud father of Madison who coordinates Priester Aviation’s marketing efforts and Quinn who is a professional baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Andy participates philanthropically at his local Food Pantry, the Chicagoland Urban League, and Feed My Starving Children. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends in the mountains, on the water, or exploring the outdoors.

Rich Ropp

President

Rich Ropp serves as President and comes to Priester with 30+ years of industry experience in aircraft management and aviation sales. Ropp opened the base location in his native St. Louis for Jet Linx Aviation. In addition to serving as the company’s Base President of St. Louis, he was responsible for leading its growth as Vice President of Business Development and Aircraft Management Sales. Ropp also served as National Sales Director at Jet Aviation, where he was the single point of contact for major clients and flight departments to the global platform of services. His experience includes driving aircraft management and jet card membership, as well as developing and executing strategic plans, and building up teams.

Rich is pursuing a light sport pilot’s license and has been involved in several charitable organizations in the St.Louis area including Wings of Hope, Special Olympics, and the Children’s Miracle Network. A medical mission trip through Wings of Hope took him and his wife to Ecuador in 2005 and most recently in 2011 and 2013, two church mission trips landed him in Gressier, Haiti with a construction team building home structures and facilities at an orphanage following the great earthquake in 2011. He has also traveled to Europe, the Caribbean, Middle East, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, and the Bahamas with his sights set on many other destinations around the world.

Over the past several years, he was instated as President for the Greater St. Louis Business Aviation Association (GSLBAA) and as a Board of Directors Member for Wings of Hope in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was a member of NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers Committee for six years. He is an active member of Calvary Church and served as a small group leader, greeter, and Sunday school teacher in the children’s ministry. Additionally, he was a coach for a fourth-grade girls’ basketball team through CYC. He always finds time for family, is a daily runner, loves to cook, prefers to be outdoors whenever possible, and absolutely loves to travel.

Rich Ropp serves as President and comes to Priester with 30+ years of industry experience in aircraft management and aviation sales. Ropp opened the base location in his native St. Louis for Jet Linx Aviation. In addition to serving as the company’s Base President of St. Louis, he was responsible for leading its growth as Vice President of Business Development and Aircraft Management Sales. Ropp also served as National Sales Director at Jet Aviation, where he was the single point of contact for major clients and flight departments to the global platform of services. His experience includes driving aircraft management and jet card membership, as well as developing and executing strategic plans, and building up teams.

Rich is pursuing a light sport pilot’s license and has been involved in several charitable organizations in the St.Louis area including Wings of Hope, Special Olympics, and the Children’s Miracle Network. A medical mission trip through Wings of Hope took him and his wife to Ecuador in 2005 and most recently in 2011 and 2013, two church mission trips landed him in Gressier, Haiti with a construction team building home structures and facilities at an orphanage following the great earthquake in 2011. He has also traveled to Europe, the Caribbean, Middle East, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, and the Bahamas with his sights set on many other destinations around the world.

Over the past several years, he was instated as President for the Greater St. Louis Business Aviation Association (GSLBAA) and as a Board of Directors Member for Wings of Hope in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was a member of NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers Committee for six years. He is an active member of Calvary Church and served as a small group leader, greeter, and Sunday school teacher in the children’s ministry. Additionally, he was a coach for a fourth-grade girls’ basketball team through CYC. He always finds time for family, is a daily runner, loves to cook, prefers to be outdoors whenever possible, and absolutely loves to travel.

Stephanie Waldron

Chief Financial Officer

Stephanie Waldron is Priester Aviation’s Chief Financial Officer, reporting to President, Rich Ropp. Waldron provides executive leadership to the company and is responsible for overseeing all financial activities and Priester Aviation’s MIS department. Prior to joining Priester, she served as controller and held senior executive roles at various organizations. During her career, Waldron has successfully implemented new technology to promote efficiencies and cost savings. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from DePaul University. 

Viviana Kozin

Chief Operating Officer

Kozin joined Priester in 2004 where she began her career as a trip coordinator in the Logistics department. Over the years, Kozin was instrumental in developing Logistics into a global 24/7/365 operation, and ultimately promoted to Vice President of Flight Logistics. Prior to joining Priester, Kozin worked for the Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK) studying and benchmarking airport noise. Kozin is a graduate of Lewis University with a B.S. in Aviation Administration, International Business and holds an FAA Approved Aircraft Dispatcher License.

Kurt Humm

Vice President, Quality and Safety

Kurt Humm is responsible for Priester Aviation’s Quality Management System. He is actively involved in process mapping, implementation and leading continuous quality improvement. His career spans corporate, commercial and military sectors including flight instructor, American Airlines MD-80 captain and fighter pilot/aircraft commander in the Illinois Air National Guard flying the F-4 Phantom and F-16 Falcon. Humm graduated from Southern Illinois University with a B.S. in Business Administration.

Ally Waterloo

Manager of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition

Ally Waterloo brings to Priester Aviation more than 7 years of Human Resources experience. Ally joined the Priester team May 2022 where she leads talent development, benefits, onboarding and recruiting functions. Prior to joining Priester, Ally spent much of her career in the manufacturing industry and various industries as a business partner. Ally holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution & Mediation from Roosevelt University.

Sales Team

Corey Ruffolo

Head of Sales & Marketing

Corey Ruffolo is Priester’s Head of Sales & Marketing. Since joining Priester Aviation in August 2008, Ruffolo has played a pivotal role in developing and launching some of the industry’s leading aircraft management and private travel solutions, including Priester’s Centerline Jet Card. Ruffolo began his career in the aviation sector helping lead a start-up Fix Base Operator (FBO) and later transitioned to the motion picture industry working on films such as The Dark Knight, The Break-Up and Wanted. With over 15 years of sales and marketing experience, Ruffolo is responsible for leading the sales, client services, and marketing teams. Ruffolo graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and holds a FAA Private Pilot’s License.

Derek Rowbotham

Director of Guest Experience

Derek Rowbotham brings Priester Aviation more the 16 years of Commercial Aviation experience having held numerous senior leadership roles across operations, services delivery, and business development. Most recently, serving as Vice President of Operations for Delta Global Services.  During his career, he has implemented and led startups and process improvement initiatives across North and South America, Australia, Europe and Germany.  Derek holds a B.S in Business Management from Kennesaw State University, Six Sigma Black Belt from IASSC and Certified Project Manager from PMI.

Greg Cummings

Vice President, Business Development & Management Sales

Greg has been a strategic pioneer in the business world for more than 22 years specializing in private aviation solutions. Greg previously served as an executive at Bombardier, FlexJet and most recently was Vice President of Sales for Fractrade. Greg has completed hundreds of transactions for customers across the globe providing solutions including ad hoc charter, jet cards, fractional sales, and whole aircraft transactions.

Toby Batchelder

VP, Sales

Toby has been in corporate aviation since 2002. His first aviation related job was heading up all sales and marketing for a Minnesota based fractional jet club called Jet Choice. Later, Toby joined Elliott Aviation to grow their aircraft charter and management programs in the greater Minneapolis area including Wisconsin and Iowa. Toby grew the fleet to 22 aircraft throughout the Midwest. In 2014, Toby joined Central Business Jets buying and selling whole aircraft.

Flight Services

Anthony Burks

Vice President of Flight Services

Anthony Burks brings more than 20 years of aviation experience to his role as Vice President of Flight Services. Burks joined the Priester team in 2010 where he began as a logistics coordinator. Burks was later promoted to Vice President of Flight Logistics before taking on his current role as Vice President of Flight Services. Anthony holds a B.S. in Aviation Science from Saint Louis University (Parks College) as well as a Commercial Single and Multi-Engine Pilot Certificate and Aircraft Dispatcher licenses.

Ted Pietrolaj

Director of Flight Services

Ted Pietrolaj is Director of Flight Services and is responsible for client relationships covering Priester’s global clientele. Pietrolaj formerly managed an in-house corporate fleet for a Fortune 100 company and has extensive flight operations experience from his role at Executive Jet Management (EJM). His extensive knowledge of both operations and the client’s perspective is invaluable. The combination of understanding the demands of charter clients and a strong knowledge of flight operations makes him perfect for this role.

Owner Services

James Schnell

Director of Owner Services

James Schnell joined the Priester team in 2005 and now leads the Owner Services Department. As Director of Owner Services, Schnell oversees the client relationships, ensuring the client is at the heart of all we do. Schnell is dedicated to providing a seamless client experience from trip inquiry to day-of trip execution. He is the fourth generation of Priesters to work in a management role. Schnell graduated from St. Norbert College holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.

Alex Alvarez

Owner Services Executive

Alex joined Priester in November of 2017 as a member of our Flight Service team. Shortly after joining the company, she transitioned to our Guest Experience team where she quickly learned the ropes and after just one short year, was promoted to Manager. Alex’s enthusiasm for aviation and her dedication to both owners and clients are evident in her success here at Priester Aviation and can be seen in the relationships she has established. Alex has her BS in Aviation Administration from Lewis University. 

Maintenance Team

David Prescott

Vice President, Maintenance

David Prescott oversees the company’s Maintenance Control Department. Prescott’s work in the aviation industry has designated him as an experienced industry veteran who is well respected throughout the aviation community. Prescott served 10 years in the US Air Force, after which he worked for a regional Part 121 air carrier, and for United and American Airlines as a maintenance manager. In addition to his time as a maintenance manager, Prescott served as an Aircraft and Engine Project Manager, handling full scale aircraft refurbishment, pre-purchases, heavy inspections and overhauls for nearly nine years.

Craig Stinson

Director of Maintenance

Craig Stinson oversees the maintenance and airworthiness responsibilities of Priester Aviation’s managed fleet of aircraft. Craig boasts 30+ years of industry experience working in many hands-on positions on aircraft in both domestic and international operations. Working as a Technical Support Representative for a leading corporate aircraft manufacturer for many years, Craig is analytically and technologically sophisticated, delivering high-quality guidance to maintenance teams while consistently collaborating with aircrews and maintenance operations centers. 

Pilot's Office

Phil Dacy

Vice President, Flight Operations & DO

Phil Dacy oversees Priester Aviation’s global flight operations. He brings nearly 40 years of aviation experience, including over 20 years at Priester Aviation. As a lifelong pilot, Dacy holds an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) rating with over 10,000 hours of flight time, and is the captain on Priester’s managed Hawker 4000. He has also been instrumental in the development and implementation of Priester Aviation’s industry-leading Operational Control Verification process.

David R. Rogers

Chief Pilot

David Rogers oversees the company’s global flight operations as the Chief Pilot and is a Captain on Priester’s Gulfstream IVsp. Rogers was also a Captain on Priester’s Citation Sovereign and has been involved in aviation and flight management for more than 18 years. Rogers began his aviation career as a corporate pilot flying King Air and Learjet aircraft for FAA Part 91 and Part 135 operators. He has clocked more than 6,000 flight hours and holds a B.A. from University of North Dakota in Aeronautical Science and Commercial Aviation. 

Join Our Team

We’re always looking for hardworking, customer-focused individuals to join our team. Apply today.

View openings