NATA Elects New Board of Directors Members and Announces New Leadership

Alexandria, VA, March 3, 2014 – Today at its annual Membership Meeting, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) announced the selection of Gary Dempsey, President, Flight Services – The Americas, Jet Aviation Holdings USA, Inc., as Chair of the NATA Board of Directors. The association named Andy Priester, President and Chief Executive Officer, Priester Aviation, board Vice-Chair and Gregory Schmidt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pentastar Aviation as Treasurer.

NATA also elected three new members to its board of directors and re-elected one current board member: Curt Castagna, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerolease/Aeroplex Group; Guy Hill, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Hill Aircraft; Marty Hiller, Owner and Partner of Marathon Jet Center; and Mark Larsen, Vice President – Large Fleet, Fractional Fleets, & Government Contracts, StandardAero Business Aviation.

Curt Castagna is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerolease/Aeroplex Group. With over 30 years of experience in the aviation service industry, he oversees diversified aviation and business aircraft centers located at the Long Beach and Van Nuys Airports. Mr. Castagna is responsible for the complete development, construction, management, sales, service and promotion of Aerolease/Aeroplex Group facilities. Among his most notable accomplishments, he was instrumental in the start-up of a major business location after assuming ownership from its previous operator.

Mr. Castagna is a licensed private, instrument and commercial rated pilot with 1,500 hours of flight time. He is also an adjunct professor at California State University, Los Angeles in the Aviation Management Program.  Mr. Castagna will serve on the NATA Board Finance and Audit Committee.

Guy Hill Jr. grew up at Hill Aircraft with his father and company founder Guy Hill, Sr. In his early years, he followed the line crew around fueling aircraft and then began driving the tug. At the age of 12, he began working in the aircraft maintenance department, sweeping floors and eventually assisting in routine maintenance. At 16, he received his pilot's license in a Piper Turbo Arrow and became the youngest Airframe and Powerplant mechanic in Georgia at age 18. He attended Woodward Academy in College Park and joined Hill Aircraft full time in 1988 after earning a degree in Business Management at Auburn University. He began as Marketing Manager and then became Vice President later that year. He was named President and CEO in 2003, and achieved his current title of Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board of the company in 2007.

Mr. Hill is a Commercial Multi-Engine Instrument pilot typed and current in the Citation 500 series and the Citation 525 series aircraft with over 3,000 hours of flight time. Mr. Hill will serve on the NATA Board Finance and Audit Committee.

From 1975 until 1982, the Hiller family operated coal-mining operations in eastern Kentucky. In 1983, Pacific Power and Light purchased and merged Hiller Fuels, Inc. into Nerco-Hiller Coal Company. The Hiller family operated this entity until 1985. The Hiller Group, Inc. was founded in 1985, and grew into one of the largest aviation fuel distributors in the United States. In 2011, World Fuel Services purchased The Hiller Group, Inc., with Marty Hiller assuming management of domestic and global business aviation as executive vice president, business aviation. Mr. Hiller is now Owner and Partner of Marathon Jet Center in the Florida Keys.

Mr. Hiller is a member of the NATA Presidents Council, Presidents Council University of Notre Dame, and a member of the NBAA. He graduated from Trine State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and a Minor in Finance. For the past two years, Mr. Hiller has served on the NATA Board Finance and Audit Committee.  With his re-election to the board, he will join the Executive Committee.

Mark Larsen is Vice President – Large Fleet, Fractional Fleets & Government Contracts for StandardAero Business Aviation. With nearly 30 years of aviation industry experience, he is responsible for the management and direction of the company’s Large Fleet, Fractional Fleets, & Government Contracts Division, as well as in complete control of the division MRO & FBO sales in support for those customers. He also coordinates the Government Contracts program. Mr. Larsen has extensive involvement in company planning sessions and new program development including the establishment of new major account agreements and OEM relations. He is consistently recognized as the top producer in the company and named as the main contact with the top customer accounts within the Standard Aero/Landmark/Garrett system.

Mr. Larsen has an Associate of Arts Degree and Aviation Business Administration Certificate. He is taking courses from the Embry-Riddle Center for Distance Learning to complete a Bachelors Degree in Aviation Maintenance and Business Management. He served as Chairman of the NATA Maintenance & Systems Technology Committee and now serves on NATA’s Airport Business Committee.  Mr. Larsen will serve on the NATA Board Operations Committee.

“NATA is pleased to welcome this very talented group with such expansive backgrounds in the general aviation industry to help provide top-notch governance for our association. We look forward to working with these industry leaders as we continue our trajectory as the leading association for aviation businesses,” stated NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks.

Click here to view the full list of the NATA Board of Directors