USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK) could borrow a line from the David Bowie classic, “Changes.” And it owes this to another David. In late October, USACK Executive Director David Yarborough resigned after holding the position for six years. In his stead, the board appointed 1992 Olympic gold medalist and all-around fun-guy-to-paddle-with Joe Jacobi as its interim executive director.
“Dave’s leadership will be missed,” says USACK Board Chair David Backer. “The entire Board of Directors thanks him for his years of service to USA Canoe/Kayak and wishes him well in his next endeavor.”
Filling his spot in the eddy is Jacobi, one of the most well-known and well-liked paddlers in the country, who was also the voice of paddlesports in the Beijing Olympics. The current Slalom Director member of the Board, Jacobi is a two-time Olympian (Barcelona and Athens), teaming with Scott Strausbaugh to win America’s first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in Slalom.
“No one has more passion to bring to the organization than Joe,” says Backer. “Joe has the ideal complement of creativity and energy to move the organization to a new level of growth and responsiveness to our members. We’re excited to have him leading the National Office and working with William Irving, Gerald Babao, Stacey Hepp and Bennett Wetch.”
He’s hitting the ground running. “This transition period represents the opportunity to more the organization substantially forward,” says Jacobi, who’s not afraid to pack his kayak and mountain bike when he attends board meetings in Charlotte, N.C. “I think we really have something to offer the average boater and broader paddlesports community.”
Up next for the association: eyes on the 2012 Olympic Games, recently awarded to Brazil. “The U.S. has always been interested in seeing paddlesports grow in South America and this should be a great way to help achieve that,” he says. As for the USA’s chances to better its performance from Beijing, where 17-year-old Benn Fraker took the top US spot with a 7th-place showing in C-1, he says that the US should fare as well there as anywhere.
“I’m really looking forward to helping the association become more relevant to paddlers,” he says.
]USA Canoe/Kayak is continuing with its growth and development. Last January, the Board approved new Bylaws and installed a new Board of five Directors elected by the membership and four appointed Independent Directors. The Board has appointed new Sprint and Slalom Discipline Committees, a new Audit and Ethics Committee, a new Nominating and Governance Committee and a new Judicial Committee; all of which have been filled with capable, experienced and enthusiastic volunteers.