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USA Luge elects new Board of Directors; Group to set agenda for next 4 years; Officers to be appointed

March 30, 2014, 4:07 p.m. (ET)

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - At a special meeting of the United States Luge Association’s National Luge Committee held on September 21, 2013, a new set of by-laws was unanimously adopted by the Association’s highest authority, the National Luge Committee.

The organization acted on its new governance in another special meeting on Saturday afternoon, March 29, in which an 11-person Board of Directors was elected. The new board is comprised of three independent directors, three athletic directors, two luge club representatives and three general directors.

Upon the seating of this new board, a President, Secretary and Treasurer will be appointed from the general and independent directors.

“I am very pleased by the overwhelming support our membership and athletes have in voting in this new slate of board directors,” said USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy. “Each director brings a wealth of financial, operational and strategic experience.  I am extremely confident that they will be valuable resources to USA Luge as we continue our focus on executing sustainability for our athletes and our programs.”

The general directors are Paul Baribault, J. Dwight Bell III and Erin Warren.

Baribault is the Vice President of Marketing for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. He has an MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a B.A. from Stanford University. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was an athlete in the USLA’s Junior and Senior Team programs.

Bell served for 15 years on the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors. He was the Chef de Mission for the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team in Salt Lake City. Dwight founded Cannon Equities in 2001 as a diversified investment/development company specializing in both commercial and residential institutional grade real estate. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama.

Warren was a two-time Olympian, finishing sixth in Nagano. Erin is the Chief Marketing Officer at CollegeWeeklive, which helps students with their college search. She holds an MBA from the Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Erin was elected in 2013 to the USLA’s Executive Board, where she serves as the Treasurer.

Adam Berlew, Mary Ann Deignan and Chris Welton are the independent directors.

Berlew is the Vice President of Global Programs and Americas Marketing for the Silicon Valley based, Equinix, the world’s largest data center company. Adam is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

As the head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Equity Capital Markets, Mary Ann manages 70 individuals and a $1 billion budget. Deignan is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and holds an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth University. She is on the Advisory Board of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and is a member of the fundraising committee for the Hospital’s Pediatric Council.

Welton, a member of the University of Georgia’s national championship football team in 1980, possesses an extraordinary wealth of sports marketing experience through his involvement in the Olympic Movement. Chris serves as the Chief Executive Officer and is a Partner at Helios Partners LLC. Prior to that, he served as President and CEO of Meridian Management. Both are international marketing firms.

The eastern region director nominee is Jeff Stratton, a former luge athlete from 1985-1990. After completing his college education and embarking on his career as a structural engineer, Jeff returned to the sport of luge in 2010 as a member of the Adirondack Luge Club. He currently serves as the Athlete Representative on the Adirondack Luge Club’s Board of Directors.

The western region director nominee is Pete Gillwald, the founder of Land Solutions Planning and Design. The firm is based in Park City, Utah, and integrates landscape architecture and land planning. Gillwald has been involved in luge as a race official for more than 18 years. He has served on the USLA’s National Luge Committee (NLC), Race Committee, but and the Wasatch Luge Club’s Board of Directors.  

By-laws dictate that the Athlete Advisory Council will have two representatives. They are Olympic silver and bronze medalist Brian Martin, and 2010 Olympian and World Cup silver medalist Julia Clukey.

In addition, the Athlete Representative to the Board is two-time Olympian Chris Mazdzer, also a two-time World Cup silver medal winner. He was voted onto the board by his fellow U.S. teammates. Mazdzer also is an athlete representative to the International Luge Federation (FIL).

According to the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, crafted by then-Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, athlete representatives must comprise 20 percent of a national governing body’s board of directors.

A new President, Secretary and Treasurer will be officially announced at a later date.