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.

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.

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.

Dean Drews
Dean Drews, Customer Line Technician

Born and raised in Minnesota, Dean moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1985. With a lifelong passion for aviation, Dean earned his private pilot license in 1981 and soon earned his instrument and multi-engine rating. Dean has been an aircraft owner for virtually the entire time he has been a certificated pilot. Currently, Dean owns a Piper Cherokee for pleasure travels to visit his siblings and family in Minnesota.

Dean has been working line service at the DeKalb County Airport for nearly four years and is excited to be working with the Sweet Aviation team to continue providing  services to passengers, crew, and aircraft of all types.

TJ Faur
TJ Faur, Customer Line Technician

Bio coming soon

Spencer Felger
Spencer Felger, Customer Line Technician

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana Spencer attends Purdue University Fort Wayne and is majoring in Business Management. He loves athletics and the outdoors and flight is something that has always interested him since he was a child. Aviation is something that is brand new to Spencer, but he is very ambitious and excited to be involved in something like that, and for it potentially to become a new hobby for him.

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.

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

Stay Informed

We’ll send you occasional emails about upcoming events, news & more