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Mark C. Nestlen Named Executive Director of Oklahoma Transit Association (OTA)


As executive director of the Oklahoma Transit Association (OTA), Mark is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the statewide organization that serves as Oklahoma’s voice of public transportation. OTA is comprised of urban, small urban, rural and tribal transit members all focused on one, overarching priority: To improve the mobility and access for all Oklahomans. With more than 10 million rides furnished statewide every year, OTA members offer opportunity for thousands of Oklahomans daily. Under his leadership, OTA will continue to serve as the voice for public transit in Oklahoma at the local, state and federal level, telling the story and expressing the transit needs of Oklahoma citizens. OTA also provides continuing education for its members, ensuring the highest level of professionalism and service among transit providers.

Mark also serves as president and CEO of his own consulting company, Bar None Consulting. Bar None is an advocacy, management and marketing consulting company that has represented clients such as Dixon and Aurelius Golf, the Triple Crown, Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Carl Nafzger, Citibank, All American Classics, Broken N-N Bucking Bulls, the American Subcontractors Association of Oklahoma, Take Shelter Oklahoma, Coreslab Structures, Saratoga Roofing and Construction, Oil Capital Electric, the Coalition of Competitive Public Construction, and Joe Dorman for Governor. Under Mark’s leadership, Bar None has helped these clients meet their goals and objectives in marketing, advocacy, communication, membership development, sponsorship engagement, growth and management needs.

Prior to establishing Bar None Consulting, Mark was the president and CEO of Cowboy Sports Agents, a $1.7 million-a-year company he founded in 1997 to represent and promote the sport of professional bull riding and rodeo and the athletes who competed in the sport. Through professional representation of his clients, Mark created the opportunity for rodeo athletes to obtain equal compensation and recognition provided to professional athletes in other sports. Mark was also responsible for bringing a higher level of business sense to the sport by directing the proper image use of his clients and providing access to professional financial management for the cowboy-athletes.

Through CSA, Mark was directly responsible for soliciting and implementing more than $10 million in new sponsorship money for cowboy-athletes and rodeo/bull riding events. He also brought a new level of public recognition to the sport by securing features of CSA athletes in major mainstream publications like Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Rolling Stone. To complement CSA, Mark founded a second Oklahoma-based corporation – OKC Gear – to handle the merchandise sales of the cowboy athletes-represented by CSA. In September 2007, Mark sold CSA and OKC Gear to Express Sports Agency.

Prior to 1997, Mark worked in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist focusing on national agricultural and rural public policy. In 1993 he joined the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) as manager of legislative and regulatory affairs and was promoted to director of legislative and regulatory affairs in December 1994. In this position he represented commissioners, secretaries and directors of state agriculture departments on Capitol Hill and within the Executive and Judicial Branches. Mark was successful in promoting the legislative and regulatory policies of the states in several areas, particularly in the Conservation Title of the 1995 Farm Bill, pesticide regulations and clean water legislation passed in the late 1990s, and in the reform of national meat and poultry inspection regulations. He was also directly responsible for developing the opportunity for farmers and ranchers to meet various national and state environmental laws and regulations through voluntary management programs.

Prior to joining NASDA, Mark was the director of congressional relations for the American Soybean Association (ASA) where he was responsible for the passage of legislation creating a marketing loan and nationwide promotion check-off for soybeans. He also created an innovative nationwide grassroots legislative action program. Before joining ASA, Mark served as a legislative representative for the National Grange where he helped to pass the Poultry Producers Financial Protection Act of 1987 and helped craft tax policy beneficial to family farmers and ranchers. Mark’s career in the nation’s capital began when he did research on the 1985 Farm Bill for Sen. Mark O. Hatfield (R-OR). In 1992, he also served as the deputy director of opposition research for the Bush-Quayle 1992 presidential campaign.

Mark received a bachelor of science in agricultural and resource economics from Oregon State University and an associate of science in Animal Technology from Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon. During his tenure at Linn-Benton, he served as a student council member, as the student representative to the Linn-Benton Board of Education, on the state board of community college student presidents, and as the Community College representative to the Oregon State Board of Education. At both OSU and Linn-Benton, Mark competed on the livestock judging teams of both schools, as he did while in high school in Canby, Oregon as a part of his participation in the FFA program where he received the highest state degree available and then later during his professional career, he was awarded the Honorary American Farmer Degree from the National FFA Organization. In addition, he received an auctioneering degree from the Reisch World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa.

Mark is married to Cathy Nestlen. The couple resides in the Oklahoma City area where he serves as vice president of their homeowner’s association.

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