Derek Popp

Derek is a 1997 graduate of the Minnesota Aviation Career Education (ACE) camp (he still has the t-shirt to prove it) but he knew long before the camp that aviation was his calling. As a farm kid growing up in central Minnesota, Derek watched in awe as crop duster planes zipped across fields and came within feet of power-lines and irrigators. The precision of the machine and skill of the pilot was truly mind-blowing. Derek also has a passion for everything mechanical. As a result he decided to combine the two interests and enroll in the Airframe and Powerplant Maintenance program at Minneapolis Technical College in Eden Prairie immediately after graduating high school. After college, Derek worked at several different maintenance operations around Minneapolis including a repair station, a charter operator, two different positions at an airline, and finally landed in corporate aircraft maintenance in 2010. It is here when he started getting involved with the ACE camp once again and sharing his passion and enthusiasm with aviation’s next generation. Derek currently resides in the Chicago area and works as a flight department Maintenance Technician at a Fortune 100 company, but he makes a point to block off a week of his summer to come back to Minneapolis for camp. His favorite part of the week is seeing the camper’s smiling faces after the airplane rides and hearing the stories of experiences in the air.