CEO Letter to Membership

To the USRowing Community,

Three months have passed since I joined USRowing, and I am even more optimistic about the future of rowing in the United States than on my first day.   

During this period, I have been focusing on two activities. The first is getting out into the rowing community to meet and speak with many of you at regattas and events, as well as by phone, with the goal of listening to how we can improve services to our membership. The second is to begin to lay out the plans for 2018. 

I am pleased to report we have achieved a number of milestones that establish significant momentum for 2018. Some of these include:

  • Successful medal performances by the junior, under 23, senior and para world championship teams, positioning Team USA as a competitive force in 2018 and beyond;
  • Discussions with FISA to secure opportunities to host the under 23, junior and senior world championships in the United States over the next five to 10 years;
  • Relationships established with the Olympic Channel and NBC to increase coverage of rowing;
  • 26% increase in registrations for Coaching Education programming over 2016, enhancing the overall coaching experience and outcomes for current and future athletes;
  • Continuation of the significant financial support from the VA to fund programs for military veterans;
  • No increase to organizational and championship membership fees for the first time in many years along, with new add-on packages featuring popular benefits at a lower cost to members;
  • Strengthened relationship with the United States Olympic Committee and an increase in direct athlete funding to support training.

We need to continue to focus on addressing many of the ongoing challenges, as well as successfully provide and plan for the significant growth opportunities within our community. These range from offering programs that introduce rowing to non-traditional communities, expanding opportunities to potential adaptive rowing athletes, continuing to develop services that cater to youth and collegiate programs, improving access to USRowing’s Coaching Education and Certification programming, and supporting infrastructure to achieve our goal of significantly improving U.S. medal performance at future Olympic Games. 

Additional funding is needed to support these initiatives and to successfully achieve our goals. Athlete and organizational members will have the opportunity from December 3-15, 2017, to vote for updating USRowing’s bylaws. I believe that one of the benefits that the bylaw changes provide to the rowing community is bringing USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation (NRF) closer together. For more than 50 years, the NRF has operated independently as the organization’s funding arm, while supporting the goals of our organization and enabling U.S. athletes to achieve international success. 

More than an effective collaboration, this natural alliance has the potential to unlock revenue-driving opportunities that will propel our sport to the next level. As other Olympic governing bodies have experienced, broadening the representation at the board level produces a diversity of ideas, transparency and solutions to meet today’s challenges. With 2018 on the horizon, new perspectives and a fresh approach are needed to build on the momentum generated by the successful 2017 World Rowing Championships that brought prominence to our sport on national and international fronts. 

This weekend, the USRowing Board of Directors is holding its quarterly meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Fla. Board meetings are always open to the public, and I want to extend a formal invitation to any and all of our community members who wish to attend. The meetings will be held during the USRowing Annual Convention on Saturday, December 2, from 2-6 p.m., and Sunday, December 3, from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

We hope to see you there! 

Sincerely, 

Patrick McNerney,
USRowing CEO

 

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