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St. Paul, MN
Years of ABSF Membership:
2019 – present
Retired from The Toro Company
Why are you interested in being a member of the ABSF Board of Directors?
Since first skiing the Birkie in 1989, the race has become an annual focal point for my family and me. I’m running for reelection to the ABSF Board to help continue the current momentum in making the Birkie the finest ski race in the world, a leading brand focused on encouraging healthy lifestyles and a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts. I’d especially like to help finish the work that we’ve started to redevelop the Telemark property and make it a centerpiece of the Birkie trail system. I bring to the Board 30 years’ experience in marketing and strategic planning, non-profit board involvement and a passion for cross country skiing with perspectives as skier, parent, and fan.
I moved to Minnesota in 1987 and learned how to cross-country ski. The next year I skied my first Birkie and was hooked. Like many of you, I discovered that most Nordic skiers are great people, and we have a special bond (maybe it’s all the crazy weather that we endure to follow our passion.)
I have now completed 30 Birkies and 2 Kortelopets and keep signing up each year for more. It’s also become a family event as my wife Karen and our three adult boys have all skied numerous Birkies and too many Korties to count as they grew up. I also have a unique perspective having completed all 20 of the Worldloppet races around the world. This gives me a deep understanding of what works and what doesn’t in other major races as well as experience building international relationships.
As an ABSF board member (presently vice president) the last three years, I’ve gained insights into how the organization operates and how the board can be most effective. Our area of greatest focus has been purchasing and redeveloping the Telemark property. The board and the Birkie staff have worked well together to design a wonderful set of facilities at Mt Telemark Village (MTV) that will attract many individuals and teams to use and enjoy the property. We have done so in a financially prudent manner and consistent with our brand message. As head of the development committee, I am working with the staff and board to help raise the funds to pay for MTV. The response from the Birkie community has been strong so far and we’re gaining momentum.
What knowledge and skills do you possess that can benefit the organization?
Most of my professional career focused on marketing, strategic planning and general management at The Toro Company and General Mills. Under Ben’s leadership, the Birkie has done an excellent job in both improving the race experience for skiers and building the Birkie brand. I look forward to help continue drive this momentum. Additionally, I feel I will be able to help with strategic planning which is important for the long-term health of the organization. This must be done in keeping with the mission of the ABSF.
Over the last ten plus years I have been involved in leadership positions on several non-profit boards helping on overall policy topics and more importantly on strategic planning issues. On the board of the National Golf Foundation (NGF) I was the Treasurer and helped think through new opportunities for the organization to pursue. I am currently a board member and past vice president of Northern Star Scouting and worked to help create innovative youth programs. I also continue to serve on the board of the Toro Foundation where I helped develop our Land Water Thrive initiative to coordinate volunteerism and chartable partnerships for Toro domestically and internationally.
I will also be able to build upon the work that I’ve done as a current board member. This will be the case both in having the knowledge of the current set of critical issues facing the organization, and in building upon the relations that I’ve built within the skiing community. The organization is going in the right direction, and I’d like to help it to continue to do so.
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