(Lancaster, CA) - The Lancaster JetHawks, Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, have announced that Assistant General Manager William Thornhill will assume the General Manager's position with the club, replacing outgoing GM Derek Sharp who accepted a position with the New Britain (CT) Rock Cats.
Thornhill is entering his sixth season with the JetHawks, which started in 2009 when he joined the organization's corporate sales department. The Antelope Valley native was named Director of Sales & Marketing in 2011 and Assistant General Manager of the club in 2012 where he has overseen all of the promotional and sales efforts of the JetHawks.
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to lead this amazing organization. I firmly believe that we have one of the best staffs in Minor League Baseball and that we will continue to develop, and implement one-of-a-kind experiences for our fans each and every game," said Thornhill. "I've grown up in this community and with this team, I was here opening day April 16, 1996; I was here to watch Ken Griffey Jr. blast batting practice homeruns onto the freeway; I was a batboy and an intern but more importantly I am and have always been a fan. I am truly proud to be a member of this organization and our fine community, and I look forward to the challenges ahead."
In 2013, Thornhill was instrumental in guiding the organization's sales and marketing efforts, resulting in a 30% increase in corporate partnerships, including a multi-year Presenting Sponsorship Package with Loan Mart, and increases in ticket package and group sales that resulted in a 4% increase in attendance for the team.
"We wish Derek the best as makes the move across the country to be closer to extended family and at the same time we are excited to have someone in William who, with his extensive experience both with the JetHawks and the Antelope Valley, will seamlessly step in to the General Manager's position and build on the successes we have experienced in recent years", explained JetHawks Vice President Brad Seymour, who will enter his fourth season in that capacity with the franchise.
Beyond leading the company's sales effort, Thornhill has also overseen the creative promotions that have garnered the JetHawks local and national attention and he is very active in the Lancaster and Antelope Valley community, including overseeing the JetHawks' annual pre-season Autism Awareness Walk at The Hangar which attracts 2,500 people and raises an average of $15,000 for the non-profit organization. He also oversees a "Laps 4 Literacy" event which has resulted in more than 20,000 books being donated to local families over the past three years since the program's inception.
Sharp was named the 2013 California League Executive of the Year and began his career in Lancaster prior to the 2008 season, serving as the club's Assistant General Manager before being promoted to General Manager in July, 2011.
The JetHawks open the 2014 season on April 3. Affordable ticket plans are currently available for the team's 19th season in the Antelope Valley and more information may be seen by visiting the club's website www.JetHawks.com.