The National Ski Patrol (NSP) Board of Directors announced on June 10 that Chris Castilian will join the organization as its new CEO. Castilian brings a wealth of public, private and civic service experience to NSP, along with a passion for the outdoors. He comes to NSP from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) where he served as executive director for more than four years.
“I am excited to join an organization with such a wonderful history, and with so much opportunity in front of it,” said Castilian. “I am grateful for the support of the board and their willingness to contemplate the future of NSP and what it can be for our members, our partners and the broader industry.”
At GOCO, which invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, wildlife, rivers and open spaces, Castilian oversaw more than $270 million in grant awards during his tenure. His achievements there included an investment of $17.3 million in a land acquisition that became a new state park, a pivot that created the Resilient Communities Program to support Colorado communities with unanticipated challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and developing and deploying a new strategic plan.
During his time at GOCO, the organization increasingly focused on equity, and through the Generation Wild initiative, worked with communities throughout Colorado to break down barriers and connect kids to the outdoors.
“All of us who spoke with Chris through this process are incredibly impressed with the impact he has made at GOCO,” said Rick Knight, chair of the CEO Search Committee. “I look forward to Chris leading our organization to new and exciting accomplishments.”
Prior to his work with GOCO, Castilian held a variety of positions in both the public and private sectors. He was director of strategy and engagement for a Fortune 200 energy company where he built a fully integrated regional government relations, corporate social and civic responsibility, and employee advocate program. He also worked in Colorado state government as the deputy chief of staff for Governor Bill Owens. Later he served Governor John Hickenlooper’s administration as a member of Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, including a stint as chair of the commission.
The process to bring Castilian to NSP attracted more than 250 applicants. The Moran Company, an executive search firm for nonprofits, worked with NSP leadership to identify qualified applicants. NSP’s Board of Directors, Division Directors and staff were all part of the selection process, and all supported Castilian’s selection.
As he joins NSP, Castilian will also be serving Colorado Mountain College as a strategic advisor to better position the college as a premier educational partner in the outdoor industry.
Castilian is a fourth-generation Coloradan, a life-long skier and devoted mountain biker. He will begin work at NSP in July.