A native Minnesotan, Tim Callister was born in Owatonna and raised on a farm in West Concord. At the age of seven, he decided he wanted to be an airline pilot. As a gift from his parents, he experienced his first airplane ride on a North Central Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Rochester. Callister later decided he wanted to become a Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer; however, world events disrupted that plan. The U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war was escalating and in 1968, he joined the US Army. As a Warrant Officer, he served in the 189th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. During his time in Vietnam, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic actions in suppressing heavy enemy fire during a helicopter rescue mission. He was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal.
Following his service in Vietnam, Callister returned to Minnesota and attended St. Cloud State College, graduating with a degree in Transportation and Urban Planning. While attending St. Cloud State, he joined the Minnesota Army National Guard becoming a helicopter instructor pilot for the 47th Aviation Battalion, St. Paul and as a member of the 2-147th Aviation Battalion, State Area Readiness Command. He retired from the National Guard in 1991. In 1974, Callister joined the Metropolitan Airports Commission and interned in the planning and engineering department, eventually becoming the Manager of the Reliever Airport System. Making him responsible for six general aviation airports, with 750,000 yearly operations. In 1986 he was promoted to Assistant Airport Director at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In 1996, Callister moved into the Airport Director position, overseeing 250 airport staffers, as well as being involved in planning, designing and implementation of a 3.1-billion-dollar expansion and upgrade to the airport.
In 2004, Callister retired from the Metropolitan Airports Commission and joined Mead & Hunt as a Senior Project Planner for Aviation Services. Tim is also a co-founding member of the Minnesota Council of Airports, a group which serves as an intermediary between airports and the State government. Callister is also an accredited member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). An organization that plays a key role in the professional development of airport employees around the country. During this time he also served as an adjunct faculty member at Mankato State University teaching airport management. He is a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and served as President of the Upper Midwest Chapter from 2019 to 2020.
Tim Callister has spent his career promoting airport matters in Minnesota by speaking on their behalf to interested groups, serving as an airport tour guide and mentoring aviation students in finding careers in the airport industry. In his more than 50 years of service in the airport industry, He has played a critical role in the Minnesota aviation community.