Mark Gasta, former executive vice president of Vail Resorts, has joined the faculty of the Colorado State University Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources to teach in the Master of Tourism Management program.
Gasta brings more than 20 years of experience as a corporate human resources professional creating authentic guest experiences and an engaged workforce, as well as his passion for the environment into the classroom.
“It’s always been my passion to help grow leaders that can make a positive difference in the world,” Gasta said.
Gasta joined Vail Resorts in January 2008 as a senior vice president and chief human resources officer. Previously, he held human resources management positions for Comcast Communications, AT&T Broadband, Lexis-Nexis and Target Corporation. He also served in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer and aviator.
“With such a depth of knowledge and experience in organizational management, leadership development, HR, strategic planning and sustainability, Mark Gasta is a welcome addition to the department,” said Michael Manfredo, department head of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. “He’s been instrumental in the support and guidance of MTM as an advisory board member and will be a wonderful addition to our faculty.”
Hitting the ground running
Gasta’s engagement on the MTM advisory board means that he is already familiar with the program, and that he’ll hit the ground running as a faculty member.
“The MTM program adds amazing value to the student experience, and it gives students a wonderful, holistic understanding of the industry,” he said.
Gasta said in his new position he will dig into the program deeper and instill his philosophies around talent management, leadership and engagement in the tourism industry.
“When you create an engaged workforce, people show up every day and give you their best,” he explained. “There’s a beautiful win-win in that. When an employee is fully engaged and satisfied with his or her work, the business succeeds and can reinvest in visitor and employee experiences further.”
Gasta’s work at CSU will focus on developing and teaching courses in adventure tourism and tourism leadership.
Adding to an innovative faculty team
Gasta joins a group of faculty known for innovative teaching approaches and for providing students with exposure to industry experts. MTM student Olga Gachkova, from Russia, acknowledged the experience, corporate leadership, and recognition Gasta brings to his new role in the program.
“The Master of Tourism Management program at CSU is a truly unique program, not only in the United States, but in the whole world,” she said. “This is due to the faculty’s innovative approach to the learning process, excellence and expertise in tourism and inspiration it gives all students to change global tourism for the better.”
Excited to join CSU
Gasta said the move to CSU underscores his desire to make a positive difference in the world through his work.
“I’m able to bring my passion for the outdoors, my love for protecting our natural environment, and the leadership skills that I developed in my years in the military and as a corporate exec,” Gasta explained. “I look forward to working with students and helping them better understand how to create sustainable businesses that can do well and do good, and bring that all to bear in offering it to the future leaders of our industry.”
Students in the MTM program participate in either a nine-month cohort-based program on CSU’s main campus or as a part of CSU Online’s learning option. The program resides in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the Warner College of Natural Resources.