At its recent Seattle meeting, IMBA's board of directors said farewell to three of its longest serving members, Hill Abell, Jay Franklin and Chris Kegel. Collectively, these three key leaders served IMBA and mountain bikers for over 40 years. That's over 120 butt-numbing meetings.
Hill's service is particularly noteworthy as he joined IMBA's board in 1993 when IMBA was an entirely volunteer run organization. In his 18 years, he has seen IMBA grow to a staff of nearly 50 and an annual program budget that is 60 times the size of IMBA's annual budget in 1993. Hill also steered IMBA through some tumultuous times as its chair of the board, a capacity he filled for six years. And it was Hill and two other board members that interviewed me for the Executive Director post in the summer of 2004. I remember being very impressed with his "think-big" mindset which I find more characteristic of much larger organizations - the ones with multi-million dollar budgets.
The magnitude of this kind of turnover in the board might normally make me anxious. But it's the mark of good leaders, like Hill, Jay and Chris, who also help to find new leaders that can continue to carry the mission forward. And while we say so-long to three long time leaders, we also said welcome to three brand new members of the board, Howard Fischer, Jim Grover, and Alden Philbrick. Are there big shoes to fill? Yes, but I am confident it won't take Alden, Jim and Howard long to hit their stride and take IMBA to even higher heights.