Deputy Chief Pilot L-159 / MB-339 Mike "Smitty" Smith
Lt. Col. Mike Smith serves as Deputy Chief Pilot for Draken’s newest aircraft, the Aero Vodochody L-159 Alca and the Alenia Aermacchi MB-339. He oversees all facets for integration, aircraft pilot training and employment of these aircraft to our Air Services customers worldwide.
Lt. Col. Smith began flying at age 5 with his dad, a CFII, and began logging time at age 14. Mike graduated from Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy and graduated June of 91, detailed to fly F-14 Tomcats at NAS Oceana, VA. Upon FRS completion, he was detailed to VF-33 Starfighters during their workup cycle. Mike also served in VF-84, VF-103 and VF-101 where he completed his time in the Navy as a Tomcat FRS Instructor. He then served in the Texas Air Guard and USAF for ten years, retiring in 2010 with 20+ years of military service. While in the Navy and Air Force he flew missions in support of Southern Watch, Operations Provide Promise, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and homeland defense at numerous TDY locations throughout the country post 9/11 including Presidential and Vice Presidential CAP during the G.W. Bush administration.
Individual career milestones include being first of three fighter pilots hand selected by then Fighter Wing commanding officer, Captain Dale O. Snodgrass, to become F-14 FAC(A) qualified under the new precision strike program for the Tomcat. Then LT Smith was initial cadre to utilize LANTIRN targeting pods on the F-14 with VF-103 during operations in Bosnia and Iraq. During his Air Force career Mike became 111FS Chief of Alert post 9/11 conducting operations in support of homeland defense. Charged with coordinating combat air patrols over major US cities and presidential missions during a two-year period, he oversaw safe and effective operations supporting Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors for the US. Lt Col Smith has more than 130 hours of combat time over Iraq and Bosnia, leading numerous close air support, TST and recce missions and has 305 carrier arrested landings. Military aircraft flown include the T-34C, T-2, A-4, F-5, F-14, F-16, F-104, MB-339 and L-39 accumulating over 10,000 hours.
Military decorations include Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Services Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, AF Outstanding Unit Award, and the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Director of Business Development Jeff "MAGWA" Scott, USMC (Ret.)
Lt. Col. Jeff "Magwa" Scott retired from the United States Marine Corps after 27 years of service. Magwa flew almost 2000 hours in the AV-8B Harrier and transitioned to the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in 2012. Magwa was the first operationally qualified F-35 pilot in the world and the stood up the first operational F-35 squadron in the world as the Commanding Officer. Earning numerous awards in Naval flight training including best bomber, best air-to-air phase, Commodore’s list, and student of the month he carrier qualified aboard the USS John F Kennedy in a TA-4J Skyhawk and earned his Wings of Gold. He completed AV-8B training and went to earn every mission qualification including Division Leader and Mission Commander. He was also a Weapons Training Officer, Low Altitude Tactics Instructor, Night Systems Instructor, Air Combat Training Instructor and a Weapons and Tactics Instructor having gone through the USMC weapons school, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in the spring of 2002. He was a Fleet Replacement Squadron Training Instructor, teaching young aviators how to fly the AV-8B Harrier and was one of two primary Radar instructors in the squadron at that time. After that tour he went on to be a MAWTS-1 instructor pilot in charge of the AV-8B Harrier section and was responsible for fleet certifications/upgrade/standardization and Tactics publication rewrites.
Magwa is a combat veteran of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying primarily night missions and leading the squadron tactics as the pilot training officer and squadron Weapons and Tactics Instructor. He has numerous combat missions and has 4 Strike Flight Air Medals as well as two single mission Air Medals, including one with a Combat Distinguishing Device earned during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lt. Col. Scott has performed in several airshows flying the AV-8B Harrier. He has also done 4 deployments to Southeast Asia.
Magwa has served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Operations Officer, Executive Officer, Commanding Officer, Director of Safety and Standardization, Model Manager for the AV-8B, Pilot Training Officer, Training squadron Instructional Systems Development Officer, and squadron Weapons and Tactics Instructor. Magwa is a graduate of San Jose State University and holds an MBA from Boston University. Magwa also served in the Air Warfare Directorate on the Navy staff in the Pentagon as a Requirements and Budget officer.
Director of Maintenance & Logistics Jeff Spann
Lt Col Jeff Spann is the Director of Maintenance & Logistics for Draken International. His responsibilities include all facets of aircraft fleet management to include flight line and back shop operations.
Jeff retired from the US Air Force in 2013 with over 20 years of service as an Aircraft and Munitions Maintenance Officer. During his Air Force career, Jeff was selected to command three permanent squadrons and one deployed squadron supporting combat operations within Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces. Throughout his career, he’s led every aspect of maintenance and logistics operations for F-15C/D, F-16C/D, A-10A/C, B-1B and B-52H aircraft. On the munitions front, he’s experienced in all variants of precision-guided munitions, Air-to-Air Missiles, conventional and nuclear cruise missiles and worked both MinuteMan III and Peacekeeper ICBMs. He retired from active duty at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, SD as the Deputy Maintenance Group Commander where he lead over 1,500 maintainers supporting flying and combat operations for 28 B-1B aircraft.
Jeff grew up in Paris, TX in a family steeped in aviation and agriculture. His family worked every facet of general aviation specializing in crop dusting, aircraft maintenance, sales and flight instruction. He personally accrued over 700 hours as a private pilot before leaving home for college and ultimately the US Air Force. He received Bachelors degree in Physics from University of North Texas in 1992 and earned a Masters in Aeronautical Science in 2005 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Director of Corporate Finance Brian Downs
Brian is a thorough, quality oriented, analytical and organized finance and management professional.
Following graduation from The Pennsylvania State University with BS Finance in 2005, Brian began his career with Harbortouch, a premier payment processing organization based in Allentown, Pennsylvania as Finance Manager. Over nearly 10 years, he steadily ascended the finance organization at Harbortouch and is currently AVP, Corporate Finance.
His current responsibilities include controller and treasury functions, as well as extensive financial analysis, planning, reporting, valuations, mergers and acquisitions. Over the last year, Brian has been directly involved with nearly half a billion dollars in financial transactions driving the strategic growth of the company.
Always striving for the betterment of himself and his organization, Brian completed his MBA from The Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business Executive MBA Program in 2013. He was Salutatorian of his class and inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honors Society, a distinction reserved for only the top of graduate business classes.
Brian has always had a passion for military jet aircraft and was delighted when CEO, Jared Isaacman, asked him to join the Management Team as Director of Corporate Finance. Still serving in his dual-role capacity, Brian is leveraging his experience and advanced education in the continued success of Draken including the brave men and women of the US and Allied Forces, whom Draken serves.
Director of International Programs Scott "Kidd" Poteet
Wm. Scott “Kidd” Poteet is the Director of Business Development for Draken International. As a member of the Draken International Business Development team, Kidd Poteet is responsible for the facilitation of the USAF aviation service contracts.
Kidd Poteet retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving 20 years in the United States Air Force. Prior to joining Draken, Kidd Poteet was the Deputy Group Commander for the 31st Operations Group, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy. As the Deputy Commander Kidd was responsible for directing the implementation of Air Force taskings for Joint and Coalition contingency operations worldwide. He received his commission from the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of New Hampshire, graduating as a Distinguished Graduate with a degree in Outdoor Education.
As an experienced combat fighter pilot, Kidd has over 3000 flight hours in the F-16 to include combat missions in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, NOBLE EAGLE, RESOLUTE SUPPORT, and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL. Kidd Poteet served in multiple capacities at the squadron, group, and wing level. Kidd Poteet has in-depth knowledge of the European and Asian theater, serving for six years in Italy and a year in South Korea. Kidd also graduated from the highly respected USAF Fighter Weapons School. Following his tour at the F-16 school house as a Weapons Officer, he served two years on the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, as Thunderbird #4 (Slot Pilot) for the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Kidd Poteet also has extensive experience as an operational test pilot responsible for the development of weapons, software, and hardware for the F-16 in order to maximize combat capabilities. From 2011-2013, Kidd Poteet led the USAF Aggressor Squadron where he commanded all aspects of flight and ground operations to include the execution of a $31M flying program, which provided expert threat replication for the entire Combat Air Force. Most recently, Kidd Poteet became the Director of Business Development for Draken International bringing contracted aviation services to the world’s leading Air Force.
Director of Safety Paul "Kingman" Kingsley
Paul "Kingman" Kingsley serves as Draken's Director of Safety. He started his career in the USAF in F-4E's and soon transitioned to the F-4G Wild Weasel. After ten years flying the mighty Phantom on active duty and full time for the Air National Guard, he transitioned to the A-10 Warthog in Boise for the Idaho Air National Guard. Throughout his career, he has served in several capacities, ranging from Snacko to Operations Group Commander. He served during Desert Shield, two Northern Watch and three Southern Watch deployments, Operation Allied Force, two tours of Operation Iraqi Freedom , Operation Enduring freedom, and Operation Odyssey Dawn. He was an instructor and flight examiner in the F-4 and A-10, and has over 6,000 fighter hours. He has extensive safety experience, having completed all aviator related courses at the USAF Safety Center in Kirtland AFB, and served as Idaho Air National Guard's Chief of Safety for over four years.
Director, Flight Test and Modernization Leonard "Wizard" Dick
Col. Leonard Dick is a member of the Draken International Management Team and serves as the Director of Modernization and Flight Test. Col. Dick retired from the Air Force after 30 years and served in the active duty Air Force, the Air National Guard, and the Air Force Reserve. Primarily an F-16 pilot, Wizard amassed more than 5200 hours in the Viper. He was the 1996 Gunsmoke and William Tell Team Leader, winning the William Tell F-16 Top Gun.
Wizard is a graduate of the USAF Weapons School, earning the Top Flying Award, and has served as an F-16 combat fighter pilot in Desert Storm, Deny Flight, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, and as a Special Forces in-country ground liaison during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to his flight combat experience Col. Dick also commanded an active duty multi-national Aerospace Expeditionary Task Force in Jordan and was the 506 AEG Commander at Kirkuk Regional Air Base. During this tour Col. Dick and also served as the Northern Iraq Senior Airfield Authority, controlling all Northern Iraqi Airspace, and Instituted Nation Building in conjunction with Army, DoS, Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and United Nations organizations.
Col Dick has been involved with flight test as a Project Manager and Operational Test Pilot at the 422 Test and Evaluation Squadron and Vice Commander of the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center. During his tour at AATC he was responsible for planning, coordinating, and conducting operational test and evaluation and tactics development for all ANG and AFRC aircraft and weapons systems. He personally accomplished the first ever shoot-down of a ballistic missile with an NCADE missile and first downing of a UAV with both 20mm and the AIM-9X. He championed multiple tactics development programs throughout his tour and led the efforts for federated computer displays and advanced communication systems.
Col Dick’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (1 OLC), Bronze Star, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), Air Medal (4 OLC), Aerial Achievement Medal (1 OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Air Force Combat Action Medal.
Director of Operations, Nellis AFB Terry "Stretch" Scott
Terry “Stretch” Scott is the Director of Operations for Draken’s Nellis operation and DETCO for USAF supported deployed operations.
Colonel Scott retired from the US Air Force in June of 2014. Col Scott’s final military assignment was as the Vice Commander, 15th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The 15th Wing provides the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command and the Commander, Pacific Air Forces trained and equipped strategic airlift resources for contingency operations, tactical air supremacy assets with all- weather strike capability, and in-flight aerial refueling for United States and allied military aircraft. The wing operates the C-17A, C- 37A, C-40B, F-22A, and KC-135R, while also providing command functions to operate the airfields at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam. The wing, in partnership with the Hawaii Air National Guard, employs Total Force combat and peacetime support to operations across Hawaii and throughout the Pacific Theater.
Col Scott was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and graduated from Harmony Grove High School, Haskell Arkansas. He graduated from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas and from Officer Training School. He was a Distinguished Graduate of Undergraduate Pilot Training and Lead in Fighter Training and has since piloted several airframes including the T-37, T-38, AT-38, F-15 and F-22. He has served as a mission commander, Formal Training Unit Instructor, Evaluator Pilot and is a graduate of the United States Air Force Weapons Instructor Course. He has served as squadron scheduler, squadron weapons officer, flight commander, wing chief of weapons and tactics, group chief of advanced programs, operations support squadron weapons and tactics flight commander, squadron director of operations, squadron commander, deputy group commander and vice wing commander. Col Scott is a combat veteran with experience in Operations DESERT STORM, SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDON and NOBLE EAGLE.
Director of Business Development Saint Lehtinen
Saint is responsible for business development focussing within the areas of Special Operations, Partner Nations and the U.S Army. Saint is also a subject matter expert and leads the sales team on the L-39CW, L-39NG, and L-159 platforms.
Lt Col Lehtinen is also currently a Combat Aviation Advisor (CAA) and Counter Insurgency/Foreign Internal Defense (COIN/FID) expert flying light tactical aircraft for AFSOC. Additionaly, Saint is a Regional Affairs Specialist (RAS) that fluently speaks Italian, Spanish and Dutch.
A member of USAFA class 1992 Saint went on to graduate first in pilot training. He was a JTAC, FAC(A) and Sandy, flew multiple combat missions and was a member of the 96-97 East Coast A-10 demonstration Team. Saint’s follow on assignment was as an instructor pilot in T-38s. During that time he was assigned to Peru in charge of the air bridge denial counter drug program and taught boating at the U.S Naval Academy. In 2000 he was selected to be the exchange officer to Italy. After graduating with honors from the defense language institute, Saint was the Chief of Weapons and Tactics for the 154 Sqd as a Tornado instructor pilot, Ghedi AB, Italy.
In 2004, then Maj Lehtinen, left active duty and became the combat planner for the 93rd FS, The Makos at Homestead AFB. Maj Lehtinen was selected to be operations officer for President Obamas first overseas trip. This led to him being asked to be the Military Liaison Officer to the Barbados and the Caribbean. After leaving the U.S embassy in Barbados, Lt Col Lehtinen became the Air Force Section Chief at the U.S Embassy in Uruguay. In 2010 he was asked to help remission the 711th SOS into the only USAFR CAA Squadron. Saint has flown combat and combat support missions in every continent including Antarctica and deployed with the 6th SOS worldwide.
Saint is both fixed and rotary wing rated and has over 11,500 hrs in the A-10, Tornado, T-38, Pucara, Citation, M28, B737, P-6 Porter, R-22, Caravan, L-39 and is a Captain at Southwest Airlines.