Richard D. Wateska is President of the Airline Flight Dispatcher Training Center, Inc. He has been with AFDTC since September 1991, when he and his wife Sarah Wateska founded the school, in Euless, Texas.
Richard has been an Airline Dispatcher for the past 19 years, spending the past 16+ years employed by American Airline in their System Operations Control Center in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. He recently took an early retirement (Nov. 2000), and now serves full-time overseeing the activities of the Hurst, Texas & Dubai, United Arab Emirates training centers.
Richard is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and holds a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Science. He is ERAU alumni from the class of 1990.
He also attended and graduated from Florida International University in 1979, where he obtained his B.S. degree in Industrial Technology. He received an Associate of Science degree from Broward Country Community College in 1978 in Aerospace Technology.
From 1977 until 1981, Richard was employed by the Federal Aviation Administration. He was a jouneyman full performance level Air Traffic Controller and OJT Instructor, working in South Florida at Hollywood North Perry, and Opa Locka Air Traffic Control towers. In October, 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers strike occured, and the FAA lost over 13,000 seasoned Air Traffic Controllers. Richard was among those that were fired by President Ronald Regan during the nationwide ATC strike. During his tenure with the FAA, he served as Vice-President of his local Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (P.A.T.C.O.) office.
An active general aviation pilot since 1974, Richard loves to fly light single and multi engine aircraft in Texas, Florida, the Bahamas, and Costa Rica. He also holds the FAA Aircraft Dispatcher and Advanced Ground Instructor certificates. Pictured here next to the Piper Arrow aircraft is Belva Winters. She and Richard were out this day on a long multi-leg cross country in North Texas.
Richard's favorite books are Think and Grow Rich, Success Though a Positive Mental Attitude, (both by Napoleon Hill), How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, The Success System That Never Fails", by W. Clement Stone, and Unlimited Power, by Anthony Robbins.
He enjoys traveling the world and visiting exotic destinations, and loves salt water fishing. Also involved in Korean Martial Arts, he holds a Blue Belt with red stripe with in TaeKwonDo, and is persistantly working towards his black belt!
Richard has two sons, Ryan Wateska, age 16, and Taylor Wateska, age 12.
A few years ago, Richard discovered the Central American country of Costa Rica, and fell in love with it. He and his wife Sarah spend several weeks a year there on a private coffee farm in Alajuela (Tacares), just outside of the county's capital, San Jose.They enjoy exploring Costa Rica's rainforests, volcanoes, beaches and beautiful countryside.