Anemometer | Feb 01, 2021

Albert Berchtold

From 2008-2020, Executive Director Ed Scott called this column “Gearing Up.” Chris Needels, executive director from 1995-2007, titled his “Capital Commentary.” Laura MacKenzie wrote “the Washington Update” from ’77-’78, and Don Beach and other staff members shared the editorial page in ’76. Sporadically, “President’s Perspective/Message” filled this page, giving the executive director’s pen a break and providing an update directly from our board. But well before that, from 1964-1975, Executive Director Norm Heaton’s column, “Off the Wind Line—with Norm” provided a look into his thoughts and experiences. The back issues of this magazine, available at, show that this page has taken very different forms as our organization has evolved. I can only imagine what this page will look like 50 or 60 years from now.

I’ve renamed this column “Anemometer,” as I intend to convey how the wind blows by providing information that USPA members will want to know. Can you go on skydiving without reading it? Of course you can. But will you be better prepared and informed if you give it a look? I think you will.

In my first months here at USPA, I’ve learned  quite a lot, including: 

Ed Scott has left some big shoes to fill. In his 24 years here at USPA, he honed his skills and did great things for our organization and sport. That list of accomplishments is way too long to even begin to delve into here. He’s been a champion for skydiving competitions and for access to airports and airspace. He’s been a leader to our headquarters staff, providing them a productive environment to work to their full potential while ensuring that the desires of our members, through our board of directors, are heard and fulfilled.

We have an amazing staff at USPA Headquarters. With the huge level of uncertainty last year, we tightened up the purse strings and ran on a reduced staff. This group works well together and are always thinking of how to best serve our members and our sport. They are passionate and hardworking people and the moving force behind what your USPA is and will be. One of my big goals coming into 2021 is to give them the opportunities they need to continue to do great work for all of you.

We need to continue to improve communication with our members. I’ve always had a great respect for USPA and what our organization has done for the sport. But wow, there was so much that I never heard about! I think many skydivers are in that situation, and one of my goals is to help our membership have a better view of what USPA does for them and our sport.

Opportunities are never ending. Our organization always has new things coming at us, sometimes great ideas, other times challenges that threaten our organization or our ability to enjoy the sport. Whatever they are, I’ll always look for the best way to support our mission as an organization.

The horizon is bright. No doubt 2020 has thrown us a lot of curveballs. USPA has listened to our members and group members and worked with them to help our sport wade through these difficult times. With that said, our sport and our organization are strong, and we’re ready to do great things in the coming years. Coming into USPA in 2020, I was excited and, of course, a little worried. But after getting a close look at things, I have nothing but wholehearted excitement for our organization and our sport. We’ve got a bright future and I’m stoked to be a part of it.

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