If you’re a skydiver, there is no better job than to work for the U.S. Parachute Association. It’s the ultimate way of giving back to a sport that has enhanced and shaped your life. You come to work each day knowing that 41,000-plus skydivers are counting on you to support and defend their chosen sport. I first came to work for USPA in September 1996. For me, the dream job turned into a dream career. Like everything else, though, careers come to an end. Early last year, as I renewed my contract as USPA Executive Director, I put an end date into the agreement. I will be exiting on December 31, 2020.
When USPA named me executive director in December 2007, I had already been with USPA for 11 years, serving as the association’s director of government relations. I was deeply involved in pushing back against real threats to the sport and helping secure great wins for skydiving and the association. I felt well prepared for the challenges that were sure to come. And come they did, starting with the Great Recession of 2008, which hit just as USPA had begun growing again after a years-long membership decline to 30,488 following the attacks of September 11, 2001. But we met that challenge and many others along the way. Today, USPA membership is at a record high of 41,271, and skydiving is thriving with none of the constraints proposed by a variety of regulators over the past few years.
USPA’s summary mission statement—supporting safe skydiving and those who enjoy it—is simple yet all-encompassing. The number of specific jobs and unique tasks performed by the 19 professionals at USPA Headquarters is huge: publishing a renowned magazine; maintaining safety standards; quickly issuing membership, license and rating credentials; promoting and marketing the sport; handling media inquiries; supporting world-class competitors and safeguarding skydiving’s access to airports and airspace. On top of that, the staff has to peer into the future to try to discern developing safety trends, prepare to swat down initiatives by well-meaning but uninformed bureaucrats and learn about new technology and how to use it to provide better member service. Despite occasional misfires, we mostly get it right, and that produces an enormous sense of satisfaction and pride.
Starting now and for the next six months, the USPA Executive Committee of the board of directors is soliciting resumes for the executive director position. The committee will select qualified candidates to begin an interview process that will culminate in the designation of USPA’s next executive director a year from now, in time for some in-house orientation before my departure. He or she will have plenty of challenges ahead but will also have a proven and capable staff ready to meet those challenges head on. If you or someone you know could rise to the challenges of the job and help skydiving and USPA thrive for years to come, make sure to look at the job description on the next page and the ad on the back cover of this issue of Parachutist. The challenges are constant, but the job satisfaction is enormous.
Meanwhile, for the next 15 months, I and the staff will continue working to grow skydiving and USPA, provide excellent member service and meet the governmental and regulatory challenges that are sure to come.
For more information about this position, please visit uspa.org/employement.