CEO Joe Ford
Joseph (Joe) Ford is the Chief Executive Officer of Draken International.
Joe previously served as DynCorp International’s President of DynAviation. He was responsible for all aspects of the segment’s profit and loss performance with functions including operations, supply chain management, finance, quality assurance, human resources, contracts and internal and external business development. Mr. Ford previously served as DI’s Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development.
Prior to joining DynCorp International, Mr. Ford was the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Beechcraft Defense Company in Wichita, Kansas. He served earlier as the company’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Director of the Light Attack Program. Before joining Beechcraft, Mr. Ford spent three years with AAR Corporation serving in roles including: Vice President for Strategic Development and Governmental Programs in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) segment; Vice President for
Legislative Affairs; and Vice President and General Manager for Presidential Airways, an AAR subsidiary. Mr. Ford had a distinguished military career, retiring from the U.S. Air Force as a Colonel in January of 2007 as the commander of the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Other roles during his military career include commander of the 18th Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan and commander of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Mr. Ford is a combat veteran with four fighter deployments to the Middle East. His aviation career includes over 4,000 hours in aircraft including the F-4C/D, A-7D, F- 117, F-16A/B/C/D, F-15C/D, HH-60, E-3 and KC-135R.
Mr. Ford’s Air Force staff assignments also included a tour as Chief, Crisis Action Branch J-7, the Joint Staff and as Chief, Legislative Affairs Division, Directorate of Legislative Liaison, Secretary of the Air Force, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Florida International University, a master’s degree in management from Troy University, and a master’s degree in military studies from the United States Marine Corps University. He is a graduate of the Marine Command and Staff College, was a National Defense Fellow at Georgetown University, and completed the MIT Sloan School of Management’s executive program for strategy and innovation.
COO Bill Tart
Bill “Sweet” Tart is the Chief Operating Officer of Draken International.
Col (Ret) Tart previously served at DynCorp International as the Senior Vice President of Business Development for DynAviation. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of business development from strategy development/implantation/assessment and customer engagement to pursuit, capture, proposal, pricing, and the transition of the DynAviation business pipeline including DoD, DHS, US state/local, and foreign military opportunities. He previously served as VP of BD for USAF programs, as well as the NASA, Aerial Firefighting, and Unmanned Aircraft Portfolios.
Before joining DynCorp International, Mr. Tart established an unmanned aircraft systems line of business for ASRC Federal. The team aimed to provide operations and expertise to DoD, DHS, and oil/gas/infrastructure customers.
Prior to these roles in the industry, Mr. Tart served for 25 years in the USAF, retiring as a Colonel from the Pentagon in 2014. He started his career as an Electronic Warfare Officer, flying combat support and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) sorties in the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint. A pioneer for direct support of the new F-16CJs and other sensitive projects, Sweet, drove the tactical application of ISR into Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses/Electronic Combat capabilities throughout the 1990s in the Middle East and Balkans. As a USAF Weapons School graduate, and later Weapons School instructor, he won the Robbie Risner Trophy for Top Graduate and top contributor to USAF combat capability. Later, he would serve as the Director of Operations for the USAF’s first-ever “blended” wing of Active Duty/Guardsmen and then go on to command the 379th EOSS in the Middle East during the US’s “Surge” in Iraq. Finally, Sweet, an MQ-1 Predator pilot, commanded the 432nd Operations and Expeditionary Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. The USAF’s premier remotely piloted aircraft group (RPA) flew MQ-1, MQ-9, and RQ-170 aircraft in combat and logged over 300,000 flying hours annually. He grew the operations from 1000 to 1800 Active Duty Airmen, trained over 400 pilots, sensor operators, and intelligence professionals annually. He led his group and five assigned Air National Guard groups in ISR and Strike operations around the world. In sum, Sweet’s operational aviation career includes over 4000 hours including over 2500 combat and combat support hours in the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, E-8C JSTARS, and MQ-1B Predator.
Mr. Tart’s staff tours included roles as the Director of the RPA Capabilities Division, Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, Speechwriter for the Secretary of the Air Force and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Deputy Director of the Legislative Affairs Division of USAF Legislative Liaison, and Airpower Strategy Planner in the combined “SkunkWorks/Checkmate” division responding to post-9/11 challenges. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, completed four master’s degrees from Army War College, Air University, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, and American Military University, and graduated from the Executive Leadership Program at the Darden School, University of Virginia.
Vice President of Business Development Sean "Stroker" Gustafson
Lieutenant Colonel Sean K. Gustafson is currently a Traditional Reservist and F-16 Instructor Pilot in the 93 Fighter Squadron at Homestead Air Reserve Base, FL. Prior to this, Maj Gustafson was an Active Guard Reservist (AGR) serving at Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, where he was the Functional Area Manager (FAM) for F-16 and F-35, Training and Tactics Division at HQ AFRC. He coordinated command policy, procedures and guidance for all AFRC F-16 and F-35 issues and oversaw Reserve involvement at 8 Fighter Wings. An experienced combat fighter pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Gustafson has over 3800 combined flight hours in the F-16C/CJ/C+, 767-ER, 757, MD-88, T-38, T-37 and the L-39.
Lieutenant Colonel Gustafson was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He served for two years as a Private in the US Army as a Calvary Scout from 1990 to 1992 at Fort Carson, Colorado. He received his commission from the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at University of Central Florida, graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering. Lieutenant Colonel Gustafson served in multiple capacities at the squadron, group, wing, and MAJCOM level as an active duty member, Traditional Reservist (TR), and AGR. He is a senior pilot with over 2,500 fighter hours in the F-16 and also flew for a US legacy airline, where he flew the MD-88, B757, and B767-ER aircraft. He flew combat missions in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, and NOBLE EAGLE. Lieutenant Colonel Gustafson has extensive knowledge of the European and Asian theater, serving for three years in Germany and a year in South Korea.
Lieutenant Colonel Gustafson is the first-ever Reservist pilot to fly for the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds. He served as the #4 Slot Pilot for the 2009 and 2010 season. Sean Gustafson currently flies the number four slot position on the Black Diamond Jet Team. This team is a highly skilled demonstration team that has dedicated its performances to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Lieutenant Colonel Gustafson is the Vice President of Client Relations for Draken International. His responsibilities include working with clients worldwide to deliver aviation contracts from conception to reality.