John Cress, Director of Operations
Born into a military family, John developed a love for aviation at an early age. Living on and near military airfields for most of his childhood, he loved the sound of jet noise and the thrill of watching jet fighters. Fast forward 12 years, after earning a degree in engineering, John was on track to get a job with a firm in Phoenix. However, after earning his private pilot license in the summer of 1994, his love for aviation was reawakened. By the end of 1995, John was a flight instructor at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. With the help and instruction of many good people, John was quickly building flight time and was hired to fly for Sawyer Aviation as a charter pilot after having worked there as a night shift fueler and flight instructor the previous two years.
Two years later, Sawyer closed the charter department. Following the closing of Sawyer, John worked as a contract pilot for local Phoenix companies such as MicroAge Computers, Valley National Bank and Dillard’s Department Stores. These contacts eventually led to John being hired to fly a Citation II for Dillard’s Department Stores in 1999. John spent 4 years with Dillard’s before they decided to move all operations to Little Rock, AR. Not wanting to move the family, John was able to find another home with Swift Aviation, where he spent 3 years before leaving to join Gemini Air Group in 2007.
During his 14 years at Gemini, John flew the Challenger 601, 604 and 605. He was also part of building a part 135 charter certificate for which he served as Director of Operations for 8 years. When Gemini was sold in early 2021, John ‘landed’ at Pinnacle Aviation with the owner and aircraft he has had the privilege to fly for the last 16 years.
Finally, John’s family is critical to his success. Throughout his career his wife and 3 children have always been very supportive.