Chapter Program Expands, Helps Fuel Hire of Two New Region Directors
After a nationwide search, I'm proud to announce that IMBA has hired two new, excellently qualified Region Directors. Patrick Kell will be leaving his current post as the Executive Director of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association to serve as IMBA's Director for the newly formed Southwest Region. At the same time, Andrew Williamson (pictured above) will be transitioning from Ohio's Five Rivers Metro Parks as its Outdoor Recreation Program Manager to join IMBA's new Great Lakes Region, serving as its Region Director.
The Southwest Region covers Arizona, Southern California, southern Nevada and southern Utah.
The Great Lakes region covers Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, lower Michigan and Kentucky.
Look for an upcoming online map at IMBA.com to display the exact territories.
In his five years as the Executive Director of VMBA, Patrick directed its growth from eight chapters to 18, with over 4,300 members. This notable capacity growth was the path forward for many new trail projects and robust funding, including over $200K for development of a Vermont Ride Center. Patrick also served as the Grants Program Director for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.
While at Five Rivers Metro Parks, Andy advanced to the position of Outdoor Recreation Manager. In this senior management role he was responsible for a $250K budget and strategic direction for more than 250 programs. Andy also serves on the boards of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education and Bike Miami Valley.
Adding these new staff members and territories means that IMBA now has professional staff deployed in seven distinct U.S. territories. (Patrick and Andy join peers in the Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Southeast and the Upper Midwest regions.) This is a big deal for mountain biking, as IMBA's regional programs are key for the continued success of our sport.
I could have given this blog a number of different titles. I considered possibilities such as, "With Start-up Financial Backing From SRAM, IMBA's Chapter Program Goes Bigger," or "In 2011, Over 50 Clubs Joined the IMBA Chapter Program." I could also have gone with "IMBA's Regional Program Gives Local Clubs the Means for Hiring Professional Staff." The words aren't as important as the news behind them: IMBA's Chapter program is creating success stories and expanding our reach. The Chapter program is better aligning resources at national and local levels to achieve our mutual goals.
It's great to welcome two very skilled and motivated Region Directors to IMBA's staff, and it's equally gratifying to increase the number of distinct regions we serve in the U.S. to seven. IMBA's formula for fueling future growth is clear. As more IMBA clubs evolve into Chapters it will bring more hires and even more growth. That will lead to more and better trails for everyone to ride, which creates new members and still more opportunities.
Here's a real-time example of IMBA's vision for how deployment of region staff is yielding growth and new opportunities for big trail development projects — to the tune of more than $250K for a new trail system in Duluth, MN. I'm glad to have Patrick and Andy on our team, and I can't wait to announce our next round of regional hires in the not-too-distant future.