Cisca De Lange
Conrad Theisen joined the Blackhawk team in 2021 to expand strategic opportunities within the avionics marketplace. He moved into this newly created position when Blackhawk purchased Columbia Avionics later the same year. With new engine STCs now requiring close collaboration with avionics OEMs such as Garmin or Collins Aerospace, he helps bridge the gap within Blackhawk.
Theisen brings 25 years of avionics expertise and experience working with OEMs from his former position, director of avionics sales at Elliott Aviation. During his tenure with Elliott, Thiesen was responsible for G1000 King Air retrofit programs and the Collins Aerospace Modernization upgrade on the King Air series aircraft. He reports directly to the Blackhawk Aerospace Executive Committee as he pursues avionics opportunities within general aviation and the government/military market.
A founding partner, Bill Smrtic brings not only pride of ownership to Blackhawk Composites but a strong determination to build the highest quality products possible, following his motto: “we will find a way.” His strong background in composites includes aerospace, wind energy, and the automotive industries.
Smrtic’s expertise with out-of-autoclave processing techniques helps Blackhawk offer a lower cost solution for customers’ complex requirements. His technical expertise extends into development and fabrication of high-quality composite tooling utilizing conventional laminating and VARTM techniques. He is also skilled in using FaroArm coordinate measurement equipment to inspect or reverse engineer your product.
A 32-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Rory Crews brings a wealth of leadership, industry experience, and business acumen to Blackhawk. He develops and leads the company’s successful new programs, executes its major defense industry MRO contracts, and maintains our extensive quality management system. During his tenure, he’s been successful in managing engine MRO for more than 200 military aircraft in 81 countries and negotiated several high value contract negotiations.
During his service in the U.S. Air Force, Crews held several operations, training, and leadership positions in addition to flying as a special operations pilot. He retired at the rank of Lt. Colonel. His also served as an airline transport captain and air cargo consultant before joining Blackhawk in 2015. Aviation has always been in Crews’ blood. One of his first jobs as a young man was as a refueler at a local FBO so he could earn money for flying lessons. Today he is an ATP-rated multi-engine airplane pilot with more than 11,000 hours of flight time.
Edwin Black joined Blackhawk in 2007, coming to the company after 9 years at Raisbeck Engineering where he’d most recently served as director of marketing and sales. A private pilot, Black’s passion for aviation product improvement is personal. After helping Raisbeck build a 50% King Air penetration with their upgrade kits, he joined Blackhawk out of interest in seeing further speed, safety, and value for the King Air. He enjoys the thrill of seeing customers experience the best performance possible from their aircraft and makes it a point to stay in touch with all his customers.
Black received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and is a licensed sky diver.