Our Team

A Passion for Aviation

Meet the Team at DeKalb County Airport

At Sweet Aviation, flying is more than a hobby or even a career — it’s a lifestyle propelled by passion. Our dedicated team is committed to cultivating that passion in each customer, whether new to the skies or a lifelong aircraft enthusiast.

Chuck Surack
Chuck Surack, Owner

You may recognize Chuck Surack as the Founder of Sweetwater Sound, as the owner of luxury car dealership SweetCars, or as a community leader, serving on the boards of many local non-profit organizations.

What you might not know is that Chuck is a helicopter pilot and aircraft enthusiast. Inspired by his aviator father, Chuck has loved flying since childhood, even keeping his Boy Scouts Aviation merit badge to this day. His first flying experiences were in his dad’s Aeronca Chief based right here at Smith Field. Chuck would go on to own many other airplanes and helicopters, such as the Cessna 414, Cessna Citations, and the Eurocopter EC130, just to name a few. He loves flying and can often be found at the helm of a helicopter. He and his wife, Lisa, have two sons and a daughter.

Joel Pierce
Joel Pierce, General Manager, Chief Flight Instructor & Charter Pilot

With well over 20 years of flight experience, Joel’s passion for flight knows no bounds. In 2002 Joel earned his private pilot certificate, later attending the International Air Land Emergency Resource Team (ALERT) Academy where he obtained his instrument rating along with his commercial and flight instructor certificates.

At over 5,000 hours of flight instruction, Joel now leads the staff at Sweet Aviation and passionately assists the aviation enthusiasts of Fort Wayne with reaching their dreams of flight. He is type rated in Sweet Aviation’s Cirrus Vision Jet, certified to fly client’s T-28, as well as highly skilled in aerobatic maneuvers in the Super Decathlon.

Scotty Hepler
Scotty Hepler, FBO Manager, DeKalb County Airport

Scotty became a private pilot in 1986 followed by a 22-year long career in the Air National Guard as an air traffic controller, but his commitment to community doesn’t stop there. Scotty also spent two decades as a volunteer firefighter and EMT.

Michael Neese
Michael Neese, Operations Manager & Certified Helicopter Flight Instructor

Originally from Cloverdale, Indiana, Michael graduated from Manchester University, later working in Indianapolis in international logistics.

That all changed for Michael after a helicopter tour around the San Francisco Bay Area. After that, he felt destiny pull him in the direction of aviation which led him to training at Sweet Aviation. He has since obtained his fixed-wing private pilot certificate and helicopter CFI rating.

When Michael has his feet on the ground, he operates a non-profit sports foundation as well as several other community focused ventures in Fort Wayne.

Customer Service

Josh Bender
Josh Bender, Customer Line Technician

Josh is from the Nashville area and recently moved to Fort Wayne to be closer to his family. Josh currently has his Airplane Single Engine Instrument rating for land and sea, and is currently working towards his Commercial Certificate with Sweet Aviation. Josh is very passionate about aviation and we are glad to have him on the team.

Isaak Berghoff, Customer Line Technician

Isaak knows the fact he’s still able to pursue his aviation dreams today is nothing short of a miracle. He grew up in Fort Wayne and graduated from Leo Junior/Senior High School in 2018. But then, just a month later, he suffered a debilitating stroke. After spending three weeks in the hospital, Isaak recommitted himself to his dream of becoming a private pilot. Isaak required six months of extensive physical, speech, and occupational therapy until finally, physicians cleared him to pursue his passion once more. Isaak hopes to one day help fly missionaries across the world.

Tyler David
Tyler David, Customer Line Technician

Bio Coming Soon!

TJ Faur
TJ Faur, Customer Line Technician

Bio coming soon

Brandon Graber
Brandon Graber, Customer Line Technician

Originally from Nebraska, Brandon graduated from Indiana University and has called Fort Wayne home since 2004.

His passion for helicopters was ignited after college when he had the opportunity to fly in a UH-60 Blackhawk through the Army officer training battalion over the IU campus. Since that moment he focused on becoming a pilot.

Brandon obtained his private helicopter certificate in 2019 and is currently working towards his commercial rating and hopes to be a CFI for Sweet Aviation as well as an ATP-rated helicopter pilot.

Damien Morales
Damien Morales, Customer Line Technician

Damien grew up in Texas, where he graduated with a sociology degree from the University of North Texas. He built up a small franchising company in the Lone Star State before becoming a Park District Commissioner for Paulding County, Ohio. However, his career path changed again when he became a student pilot at Sweet Aviation where Damien fell in love with flight immediately. He earned his private pilot license and now serves as a Customer Line Tech, helping customers and refueling aircraft. Damien is currently working towards his instrument and commercial ratings. His ultimate goal is to teach others to fly and inspire the same passion he feels for his craft.


Sean Barr
Sean Barr, Director of Maintenance & Certified Aircraft Mechanic

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Sean graduated with honors from the US Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s in political science and a German language minor. He went on to serve eleven years on active duty as an Air Force Special Operations Pilot, logging over 2,100 hours of flight time including 1,000 hours of combat over Iraq and Afghanistan. For his accomplishments Sean was awarded a Bronze Star and eleven Air Medals.

In addition to aircraft, Sean is also passionate about his faith and earned his master’s in Theological Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary while attending A&P school.

Sean enjoys spending time with his four daughters, as well as camping, traveling, and hunting.

Jeff Reid
Jeff Reid, Maintenance Admin Assistant

Jeff didn’t know it at the time, but seeing airplanes at an airshow would send him down a career path in the aviation industry. Growing up in the Midwest, Jeff would attend a university where he would receive two Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as a Bachelor of Science business degree. Jeff then joined the Air Force where he would serve six years and be deployed to the Middle East three times. At Sweet Aviation, Jeff handles the administration and logistics for the maintenance shop and plans to earn his pilot license soon.

Colton Denn
Colton Denn, Certified Aircraft Mechanic

Colton grew up in Minnesota where he developed a love for fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling. After graduating high school, he joined the United States Navy as an ordnanceman, maintaining ammunition on board the USS John C. Stennis. He went on to serve two deployments: the first in the South China Sea and the other in the Persian Gulf. Colton left the service in 2020 to pursue a career as an aviation mechanic. He received his airframe and Power Plant certification from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) in Virginia, before completing his associate degree with AIM in Atlanta. Colton loves to spend time with his family, including his wife Phoenix, daughter Camilla, and two dogs.

Tom Mollenauer
Tom Mollenauer, Certified Aircraft Mechanic

Tom is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received his A&P and FCC licenses from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. He started his aviation career in 1996 with regional carrier Continental Express and then ExpressJet Airlines in Cleveland, Ohio. 25 years later after the pandemic closed the doors, Tom found himself working for GA companies. He received his IA license in August of 2022 from Bakers School of Aeronautics. Tom and his wife Kim have have two sons, two grandkids, and two goldendoodles, Skylar and Reign. They are active with their family, kids sports and church. They love drag racing and traveling.

Brock Nafziger
Brock Nafziger, Certified Aircraft Mechanic

Brock is from Archbold, Ohio and earned his A&P certificate from Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology. His passion for aircraft began in his early teens when Brock decided to pursue a career in aviation. He enjoys off-road adventures in his Jeep and spending time with family.

Steven Schwanz
Steven Schwanz, Certified Aircraft Mechanic

Steven Schwanz grew up in Minnesota where he trained at the Minneapolis Technical College Aviation Training Program as an aircraft mechanic and also received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University. In his free time, Steven enjoys spending time with his wife and five sons.

Email us or give us a call at (260) 299-5492 if you have questions or would like more information.

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