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USAR Board of Directors Update December 2020

Dec. 14, 2020, 10:59 a.m. (ET)

Season’s Greetings, USAR Members!

This update contains information on:

  1. Board structure
  2. Highlights of the Board’s November meeting


Board Structure

A member recently wrote with a few questions, including who is on the Board, what their terms are, could full sets of minutes be included here, what the committees are and who chairs them, etc.

First of all, we really appreciated (yes, we were delighted) that this member took the time to ask how things work. We have a perpetual desire to be open and thorough, but we also want to explain that this feature in Serving Up the News is a member update each month, suitable for a newsletter, and not meant to be a full report of all activity. We endeavor to bring the most compelling and interesting information to our readers, but we also know that much of what transpires in a Board meeting can be (dare we say it?) mundane.

But let’s dive in a bit to some of our member’s questions and give everyone an “extended snapshot” of how the Board is structured.

We’re happy to report that in January, “get to know you” profiles will be added to the About/Leadership location on the website where there are currently photos of each Board member. We’ll include the terms they are currently fulfilling and the type of Board seat they occupy.


The Bylaws provide governance for USA Racquetball and its members:  About/Bylaws

Current Board of Directors -- who are these people?

Well, to best address this question, USA Racquetball’s Bylaws document describes Board position descriptions (see Article VII, pp. 8-10), and the roster of current Board members appears right here as well as on the website.

USAR Bylaws Article VII, 701.0 -- Board of Directors Position Categories: Selection and Terms

At Large Elected, Board Appointed, or Executive Appointed, USAR Bylaws, Article VII, 701.0 A-C

In addition to the Executive Committee (described below), these individuals serve on the Board of Directors:

  • Todd Boss (appointed to fill vacancy; see Board meeting update)
  • Thurman Brooks (elected)
  • Scott Fish (elected)
  • Mike Grisz (elected)
  • Laura Pesek (appointed to fill vacancy; see Board meeting update)
  • Terry Rogers (elected)
  • Cindy Tilbury (elected)

Athlete Representatives (elected by their peers, i.e., elite athletes who have represented the United States in international competitions: World or Regional). USAR Bylaws, Article VI, 601.0.A.2.b and Article VII, 701.0 D.

  • Michelle De La Rosa (Executive Committee Athlete Rep)
  • Danielle Maddux
  • Charlie Pratt (USOPC Athletes Advisory Council Rep)

From the roster of sitting Board members, officer positions are elected at the Annual Meeting in closed session after the conclusion of the main meeting. Officers serve two-year terms (up to a maximum of three consecutive). Currently:

Executive Committee (described in USAR Bylaws Article VI, pp. 7-8, and Article VIII, p. 10)

  • President -- Dan Whitley (elected)
  • Vice President -- Stewart Solomon (appointed)
  • Treasurer -- Steve Czarnecki (appointed)
  • Secretary -- Cheryl Kirk (elected)
  • ExCom Athlete Representative -- Michelle De La Rosa (athlete rep)
  • Executive Director (ex officio) -- Mike Wedel

The questions from the member mentioned in the first paragraph of this update included one about committees. With a long enough update under our belts for this month, we’ll take up that topic in the January issue of Serving Up the News. Something to look forward to!


Board of Directors Meeting Highlights -- November 30, 2020

Executive Committee Update (Dan Whitley) 

The Finance Committee is meeting regarding the 2021 budget on 12/8, and the Strategic Planning group is meeting on Wednesday 12/2.

Board appointments -- Dan described the process for filling Board seat vacancies (two at present).

After previously asking the Board’s input on potential prospects, he reviewed Laura Pesek’s credentials and background in Finance with experience in roles ranging from manager to director to VP to president in different affiliations along with expertise in strategic planning, business processes, and finance proposals. 

The Board passed a motion to approve the appointment of Laura Pesek to the USA Racquetball Board of Directors effective 12/1/2020 and ending at the Annual Board meeting in May 2023.

Note: In the calendar week after this meeting, Dan Whitley brought an individual for appointment to a six-month period of time to occupy a vacated Board seat that expires in May 2021. The Board approved Todd Boss for appointment, and Todd will serve in this capacity through May. Todd brings experience as an IT professional in database and data consulting. Within the Racquetball family, he is the founder and developer of Pro Racquetball Stats and significantly engages with every major racquetball organization.

Executive Director Update (Mike Wedel)

Topics Mike covered included fundraising (Giving Tuesday and Year-End Appeal); insurance and rent refunds; line of credit renewal; 2021 budget approval in December; Serving Up the News newsletter; R2 ranking system updates and WOR rankings; and staff projects recap.

Financials Update (Steve Czarnecki)

As a result of the pandemic and continued restrictions on racquetball activity in many areas of the county, the continued decline in the number of members and membership revenue remains the greatest financial concern of the Association. As of November 1, there has been a 34% reduction in members over the past year. For 2020, membership revenue is $124,000 behind budget through October and anticipated to be $187,000 behind budget by the end of the year. Sanction fee revenues are also well under budget. The necessary postponement of the 25th UnitedHealthcare U.S. Open Championships has also had a significant impact. Grants originating from the CARES Act, a major gift from Root Laboratories, Inc., donations from individuals, and members renewing to support the sport during this time with limited events have been critical in helping the Association move forward. The Finance Committee is closely monitoring the cash flow forecast for the organization as a budget for 2021 is being formulated.

Reference was made to the 2019 Form 990 and audited Financial Statements, which were shared with the Board and will soon be available on the website.

Committee Updates

Rules Committee -- National Rules Commissioner Otto Dietrich is retiring at end of this year. An article and announcement to fill the National Rules Commissioner position is included in this December 2020 issue of Serving Up the News.

Hall of Fame Committee (Voting Group) is active in consideration of nominations submitted to the committee prior to the September deadline.

Membership Committee -- Terry Rogers informed the Board of a membership campaign initiative being planned by the committee.

Future of Racquetball Group -- Mike Grisz shared that the FOR group is beginning to explore logistics and approach to strengthening connection with state leaders, state board members, tournament directors, et al.

Election Committee -- A recap of the Election Committee’s report appears in this December 2020 issue of Serving Up the News.


Well, that’s the update for this month! The Board will meet again on December 21 when we will be reviewing the 2021 projected budget in this final meeting of 2020, our twelfth (all conducted electronically).

Take care, everyone, and if you have questions about the Board’s work, please contact Stewart Solomon (VP) or Cheryl Kirk (Secretary).

If you have questions about the Staff’s activities, please contact Mike Wedel.

We wish you and your families a healthy and peaceful holiday season, and we can’t wait to see everyone back on the courts (safely!) in 2021!