About Us

Who We Are

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"We recruit executives because we are executives ourselves."

We recruit executives because we are executives ourselves.  Each of our search partners has extensive, firsthand business and leadership experience in the aviation industry.   Our clients include small, midcap, and large companies throughout commercial, business and general aviation.

We will only work with executives who are well known in the industry, are currently employed and driving business, or by referral.

Outstanding executives only want to work with companies who are serious about their hiring needs.  For that reason we will only work on a retained or engaged basis.  

Craig Picken
Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Co-founder and Managing Partner for Northstar Group, Craig is focused on recruiting senior level leadership, sales and operations executives for some of the most prominent companies in the aviation and aerospace industry. Clients include well known aircraft OEM’s, aircraft operators, leasing / financial organizations, and Maintenance / Repair / Overhaul (MRO) providers. Since 2009 he has personally concluded more than 150 executive searches in a variety of disciplines.

Craig’s professional career started out with a passion for airplanes. After eight years experience as a decorated Naval Flight Officer – with more than 100 combat missions, 2,000 hours of flight time and 325 aircraft carrier landings – he sought challenges in business aviation where he spent more than seven years in sales with both Gulfstream Aircraft and Bombardier Business Aircraft.

During his tenure at Gulfstream, Craig helped drive sales efforts throughout the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa regions and played significant roles in securing sales in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. From there he moved over to Gulfstream’s newly created “Government and Special Missions” division where he was instrumental helping the company establish sales campaigns for head-of-state and militarized aircraft throughout the world including programs in the U.K, Australia, Israel, Sweden, and Denmark. He also helped to secure Gulfstream’s largest sale ever to the US Government which included firm orders for 37 Gulfstream V’s under the VC-X competition.

While at Bombardier, Craig managed the Southwest territory for Flexjet which included Southern California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In this role he more than doubled the territory sales volume, producing more than $125M in sales revenue in 3 years.

For 6 years preceding his establishment of Northstar Group, Craig was recruited into the field of luxury real estate development where he helped develop, market and sell some of the country’s premier mountain and coastal resort communities, including the exclusive Greenbrier Sporting Club in West Virginia. During this tenure he led dynamic sales teams and formulated synergistic relationships with strategic marketing partners. His client list includes well known CEO’s, entertainers, athletes, and high net worth individuals – many of whom are now lifelong friends.

A Texas Tech Graduate with a B.S. in International Trade, Craig has both lived overseas and conducted business throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

Elizabeth Picken
VP of Operations and Co-Founder

Elizabeth “Lisa” Picken is NorthStar Group’s VP of Operations and Co-Founder.

After graduating from Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia Lisa’s career started in financial services with Bay State Financial Services in Boston managing client accounts in conjunction with the firm’s financial advisors. After two successful years in the industry she was accepted to the prestigious College of William and Mary - Mason School of Business where she earned her MBA and was subsequently recruited to Air Products Corporation where she held multiple positions in the company’s Leadership Development Program.

Lisa’s Aerospace career started when she accepted a position with Gulfstream Aerospace as a Financial Analyst working directly with Sales, Operations, and Completions. She then made the transition to Bombardier Business Aircraft where she worked with Flexjet division where she focused on the financial aspect of the fleet’s maintenance and repair operations and the analysis of new business opportunities.