Forums: Archive: 2013-2015 USPA BOD Elections:
Question for running BOD members

 

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Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Aug 10, 2010, 1:49 PM
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Question for running BOD members Can't Post

USPA has gone back and forth between in-house PR and out-of-house PR over the years.
There is now a desk at USPA that is labeled "Sports Promotion."
At the BOD meeting in PHX, it was described and defined as being about promoting the sport vs public relations.
USPA has an employee dedicated to this task at a cost of approximately $65000.00 per year in salary (best guesstimate) plus an undisclosed budget for "Sports Promotion."

On two separate occasions, USPA has had the opportunity to have a buy in partnered with massive corporations. Both were exceptionally time-sensitive opportunities, neither opportunity costing USPA more than $3k (and most likely, significantly less).
USPA passed on both opportunities.
A large DZ saw the opportunity that USPA couldn't see, and the DZ took advantage of the opportunity. Skydive Elsinore is now part of a Sony product that embues approximately 500,000 units and is seen repetitively throughout.


On one occasion, USPA had the opportunity to be part of an energy drink promotion, but they could not provide a PR kit, let alone an EPK (Electronic Press Kit). Inside or outside agency, that alone is inexcusable, IMO.

USPA claims they now have a press kit that has not been provided after multiple requests.

I have asked USPA to specify *exactly* what the budget is, what monies have been spent with what result, and what specific promotional opportunities have been embraced.
So far all I've received are press releases that are pithy at best and not related to "promotion" as much as "public relations."
For $70k plus per year of membership funds, an outside agency could/should handle PR *much* better than an inside person who didn't know what an EPK is when asked about it 6 months ago.

Realistically, USPA appears to have approximately 100K to spend on PR (including salaries), and the current staff does not have a strong background in PR and as far as I can tell, no background in product placement, marketing, sales, or otherwise.

I've talked to a few current BOD members about this expense/issue, and they've essentially all said that they've "thrown up their hands and given up" in trying to understand the PR/Sports Promotion shell game.

$100K is a huge chunk of budget. Is it beneficial for the membership to know more about what is going on with this line item?

How would the prospective BOD candidates direct USPA on the two very separate issues of
~Sport Promotion (Think marketing/sales of skydiving for the benefit of all General Member DZ's).
~Public Relations (Think "informing news media of events")

In the interests of full disclosure, I would have profited the value of 2-3 jump tickets for bringing Sony and Canon to USPA.


howardwhite  (C 3896)

Aug 10, 2010, 3:59 PM
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USPA also had a "Sport Promotion" committee, which had a couple of meetings (I was at one and offered suggestions for discussion at another.)
It seems to have disappeared.
HW


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Aug 10, 2010, 6:18 PM
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Re: [DSE] Question for running BOD members [In reply to] Can't Post

So who's the employee reaping this salary? Any relationship between this employee and executives, etc.

Maybe it's just me, but something stinks here.


bbarnhouse  (D License)
Pixie
Aug 11, 2010, 8:55 AM
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DSE did you happen to send a copy of this to the full BOD?
I would be interested to know what responses were given.

Have you given consideration to running for the BOD in the future?

Certainly I have my own concerns. It would seem to me that if a member takes the time to generate an email to the full BOD a response of some kind would be warranted even if only to acknowledge the receipt of said email.
I sent an email on an entirely different issue to the entire BOD to which I received only four replies and one phone call. (Thank you Gary Peek) Dissappointing to say the least.
V/r
B2


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Aug 11, 2010, 12:01 PM
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A few years ago I sent an email to several (though not all) BOD members; I also got active follow-through from Gary Peek.

Wendy P.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 11, 2010, 4:05 PM
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This is pretty typical of the association in my experience.Mad

If they are sinking $65K into a single salary with a total budget of $100K, there isn't much promotion going on. $35K goes nowhere on a national basis. Hell, that'll get eaten up on (properly done) PR kits and overnight stays at the Hilton in no time!


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Aug 11, 2010, 6:06 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Question for running BOD members [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
This is pretty typical of the association in my experience.Mad

If they are sinking $65K into a single salary with a total budget of $100K, there isn't much promotion going on. $35K goes nowhere on a national basis. Hell, that'll get eaten up on (properly done) PR kits and overnight stays at the Hilton in no time!

Bullsh**.
We write most of our PR internally and have an outside agency vet and distribute, it's a whale of a lot less than 35K per year. Our in-house staff is less than a quarter of USPA staff.

We spend a grand a month at most. We have a lot more to talk about than USPA at the PR level.

Betsy, I didn't copy the full board, but did send an email to a few BOD members. Peek was the only one to respond, and he did so within a few hours.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing USPA; this particular line-item has me confused and unhappy after having sent dozens of emails back and forth between Ed Scott and Nancy Koreen with no tangible nor informative responses. It's obvious a fair amount of cash is going in the PR/Promotion pipe with no measurable means of return nor specific promotional projects that have a measurable return.

Therein lies the biggest difference that USPA doesn't seem to get;
PR is an intangible. You have to do it to keep the water flowing.
Promotion is tangible. You have a measured cost per impression, a measurable expectation of return on impressions, and a relatively measurable result within a specific period of time (Isn't that "S.M.A.R.T.?").


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Aug 11, 2010, 7:22 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
This is pretty typical of the association in my experience.Mad

If they are sinking $65K into a single salary with a total budget of $100K, there isn't much promotion going on. $35K goes nowhere on a national basis. Hell, that'll get eaten up on (properly done) PR kits and overnight stays at the Hilton in no time!

Bullsh**.
We write most of our PR internally and have an outside agency vet and distribute, it's a whale of a lot less than 35K per year. Our in-house staff is less than a quarter of USPA staff.

Good for you, but you're a capitalist focused on efficiency and profitability. I guess I forgot to draw the distinction that I was talking about USPA vs a business. The head shed at USPA is neither efficient nor profit motivated. It is a member funded bureaucracy run primarily by former military/government types. They can blow through 35 grand for consultants to tell them how to take a dump.

Don't expect the same people you accuse of making blatantly bad calls on no-brainers in the PR department of being able to get any significant bang for the buck with $35K. C'mon - a heavily red-taped national organization with an annual PR budget of $700 per state?

For a savvy entrepreneur, who knows. For USPA, not a chance.

By the way, nice ad in the latest Parachutist.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Aug 11, 2010, 8:42 PM
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Re: [chuckakers] Question for running BOD members [In reply to] Can't Post

Chuck, I understand the USPA isn't a business, nor run like a business (even though I believe it should be to great extent).
I also understand that a LOT of the drive behind the admin of USPA is military, which is a terrible thing in this particular area of efficiency.

However....
I don't believe in sharing private conversations, so I'll refer to the above opportunities as presented to USPA.
When the second one was more or less blown off, I became a bit aggressive and was told "So you think USPA should spend a coupla grand 'simply because DSE says it's a good thing to do?" (bear in mind, this was an opportunity to be seen in every Canon dealership in the USA, and be part of a Canon product training video distributed to the general public, cost in the neighborhood of .003 per action). (CPA/Cost per Action is a measurable means of an audience seeing something. Something similar to knowing XXX will see your ad during the Superbowl).

I've been told USPA has "better opportunities" and I truly would like to know (both as a USPA member and as a businessperson in the skydiving world) where they're getting a less costly, similarly efficient CPI and CPA.
Should the BOD be more involved in this discussion, or should it be that "There is this event in Key West, and we think maybe we can attract new skydivers by attending. It'll only cost 500.00 per night and 3500.00 for the boothspace, in addition to travel and wages."

The Promotion department must be allowed discretionary funds (which I believe that should reflect 5-10% of the overall budget) but who is overseeing the expense/result?
It's not enough to say "we had XXX more sign up in 2010 over 2009" if the trend has been upward for X years and it follows the swing pattern of related industries.
If there is a measurable spike during a promotional period (think about the release of Point Break, USPA measured that spike) then it's pretty compelling evidence that a promotion project worked in the short-term, which can be amortized into long-term, diminishing but stable low yield expectation. "Mind your pennies and your dollars watch themselves" bears this out.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Aug 13, 2010, 4:54 PM
Post #10 of 38 (3275 views)
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Frankly, I think "recruiting skydivers" is a big mistake. The sky is already half full of nitwits who litter the sport for a few years because of tandem and AFF. We'd be better off with people who naturally hear the call of the skies and have the wherewithal to find us and the guts to learn how to fly on their own.

I think I'll start a new political movement in skydiving.

The Static Line Party!

We'll get rid of tandems and AFF! No more hand holding and mollycoddling. From now on in it's hack it or pack it! LOL!

NickD Smile


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Aug 13, 2010, 9:39 PM
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Re: [bbarnhouse] Question for running BOD members [In reply to] Can't Post

I've now heard from three BOD members as a result of this post

One of them felt I wasn't clear on what I was asking. Therefore;

~what is the actual budget, including salaries, that USPA has set aside for purposes of promoting the sport of skydiving to induce more people to do a first skydive?

~what is the actual budget, including salaries, that USPA has set aside for purposes of public relations to inform the media and general public of skydiving activities?

~Where has USPA already expended funds that are related *specifically* to promoting the sport of skydiving (Press releases cannot be considered "promotion" and are not considered promotion by any reasonable and marginally experienced person).

~What is the specific cost per action, how has it been measured, and what were the results of the promotional campaign? Where have these campaigns occurred? Which (if any) dropzones benefitted from these promotional campaigns?

~Why has USPA incorporated "Sport Promotion" and PR? If the outside PR agency hasn't been providing the beef, that is no excuse for not simply finding a different agency, one that specializes in outdoor sport press/media relations such as Scotti or Fuch's, Llewco, or similar. These agencies are a quarter of the cost of what USPA appears to be spending in-house, and that's being generous.

PR today is a very simple matter, once you have the right partner that has experience in the channel.

The question then becomes (for the Board), if you are not specifically overseeing these budgets, approving them as project expenses, why not?
If you are, please explain the above.

What is the allowable discretionary expense? I've been told by Ed Scott that a $2K expense must go before the full board. This suggests the board is overseeing the Promotion department but at the same time, none of the BOD I've spoken with have any idea of what I'm talking about because they've never heard a word about Promotional budgets nor salaries.

I'd like to understand why USPA didn't have a Press Kit after all these years. I requested one during 2008 Nationals at Eloy and was told it was forthcoming. I asked USPA for a press kit nearly two months after the 2010 Feb board meeting where the exciting "new Sport Promotion Director" was introduced to the room. I was told there still wasn't one. I needed it to pitch skydiving to an energy drink company that was contracting my company to produce visual media for them and their product promotionals.
When I asked about an EPK, the response was "What's an EPK?" Crazy
Then I brought a major software developer to USPA. http://vimeo.com/10387746 This is one of three excerpts provided to USPA so they could make a decision about involvement in an in-box training product. This would generate a minimum of 500,000 discs of training content that users of the software would be viewing while learning the software (seeing a skydive dozens if not hundreds of times). This would have cost USPA approximately 2K, perhaps as much as 3k. When USPA passed on the opp, a dropzone jumped at the opportunity. USPA indicated in emails that they've got "other and less costly opportunities." I'd really like to know what these opportunties are, have been, and what the results were. I'd like to be able to take advantage of them myself.

USPA could have participated in this article too, but they didn't respond to emails in a timely manner. All dropzones could have benefitted. Wouldn't have cost USPA a dime, just info and interview.

Most recently, USPA turned down an opportunity to be part of a Canon product, citing that they needed full BOD approval of expenditure (approx $2K). Other organizations typically spend up to $20K to be part of these opportunities, and they jump on them in a very short period of time. Product releases mean time is of the essence.

Attached is an image of some footage from Scotty Burns on Sony's new 50' 3D LCD panel screen at the NAB show in Las Vegas last April.
USPA wasn't interested in that, either.

I'd like the BOD potential electees to explain how they'd prevent these sorts of "oops" again.
I believe other USPA members would like to know the answers too.
Attachments: Sony-NAB-ScottyBurns.jpg (38.6 KB)


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 14, 2010, 11:28 AM
Post #12 of 38 (3214 views)
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Re: [NickDG] Question for running BOD members [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Frankly, I think "recruiting skydivers" is a big mistake. The sky is already half full of nitwits who litter the sport for a few years because of tandem and AFF. We'd be better off with people who naturally hear the call of the skies and have the wherewithal to find us and the guts to learn how to fly on their own.

I think I'll start a new political movement in skydiving.

The Static Line Party!

We'll get rid of tandems and AFF! No more hand holding and mollycoddling. From now on in it's hack it or pack it! LOL!

NickD Smile


Showin' yer age bro! Sly


They're not 'nitwits' they are 'new-age meat bombs' ...and we have to have the membership $$ they bring, in order to pay for the new tax accountants required to 'wash' all money coming in from the museum.

We've had this discussion before, the reason guys like you and I aren't 'tourists' is because when we went through, 'dues' weren't paid for with something as inconsequential as mere money. Wink


http://www.dropzone.com/...post=3275819#3275819

http://www.dropzone.com/...post=3276169#3276169


Personally I'm on the fence about a lot of this stuff, I get tried of hearing a lot of the board bashing by elements of the membership not interested or perhaps aware of the big picture and the red tape bullshit required to fight those battles.

On the other hand I do see how there are numerous ways this thing could and should be run by our collective representatives that surely would reduce waste and make more efficient use of the currently available resources as well as perhaps significantly increase our number$ and thus our voice within the aviation community.

The 'good ole boy' thing saved our ass on several occasions in the past, and there is a lot to be said for that.

However now here in the 21st century I have to wonder if maybe we need to re-tool in a lot more areas than are being addressed.

I like the new look of the monthly rag and the political points the new boss now takes the time & effort to touch on at times within.

I do have to wonder what shape we would be in if we 'tea partied' the whole thing as you joke Nick, and started from scratch.

...what if people that actually have current knowledge and experience in the real business world were given the reigns or at least a mouth with sharp teeth, and urged to (help) run this corporation as they do their own businesses?

Though I don't have a specific list of complaints regarding current management, (other than perhaps the secrecy of what where and how much) I do believe that overall we can do much better.

I wouldn't at all be concerned with letting guys like Peek, Spotted Eagle and Shankman to name a few, take a crack at modernizing and streamlining both the positions and processes that seem to be hampering potential growth and strength of this corporation we so badly need and need now more than ever to be efficient and effective.


(This post was edited by airtwardo on Aug 14, 2010, 12:07 PM)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Sep 4, 2010, 8:39 PM
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Yeah Twardo...this could be MUCH MUCH better done in the private sector either by contractors (such as JWalcher) and/or a private agent assigned to bring in a big film and USPA pays the agent percentages based on value to the sport. This is how it works in the "real world" when you have an agent soliciting placements.
Been a few weeks now. Several current and one running BOD member have contacted me about their feelings.

There is a committee to oversee Membership Services (that this department is rolled into), a committee to oversee Competition, and a committee to oversee S&T.

"Sport Promotion" has spent a great deal of cash, and in my view nothing to show for it.
Where is the committee to directly oversee where/how this money is being spent? I'm told that this department can't even spend 800.00 without board approval. If this is so... why not have direct oversight? Why not institute a committee to oversee this if it's separate from Membership Services expenses?


Or does anyone actually give a damn about the money being spent?


SkydiveJack  (D 6486)

Sep 5, 2010, 8:44 AM
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Damn it DSE!

Why dont you run for the USPA BOD? You are just the kind of person we need on the board. I have followed your emergence in the sport over the years through magazine articles you have written and your posts here on DZ.com. I have been impressed from the start with your ability to communicate your thoughts and lately your depth of knowledge in the promotional area.

You are young enough in the sport to still have the early passion and not be part of the old boy network. And from what I have read in your posts, you have a set of business skills and common sense that USPA desperately needs.

You need to run a write in campaign for National Director for the upcoming election.

I am an old has-been who dedicated 20 years of my life to the sport and who is now way out of the picture. But I still care. I have never met you or spoken to anyone who knows you. But I know that USPA needs you NOW. And I am sure you have heard the same thing from many other people. Please consider what I say.

Jack Gregory
1992-95 USPA Director of Safety & Training
1997-99 USPA BOD National Director


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Sep 5, 2010, 11:23 AM
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Hi Jack,

I could not have said it better. And I have often thought of that.

Douglas, just say the word and we will get the write-in campaign going for you.

As Jack says, we need your youth, passion & experience; and we need it now.

Anyone else with me on this?

JerryBaumchen

PS) And as you Jack, I am now just a spectator but I still care.


(This post was edited by JerryBaumchen on Sep 5, 2010, 11:24 AM)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Sep 6, 2010, 6:47 AM
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Re: [JerryBaumchen] Question for running BOD members [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for your belief in me, Jack and Jerry.
I have not considered running for the BOD.
I'm pondering the thought now. I'm not entirely sure that I'd be the right person. I don't have any of the military connections, and I don't have any of the party connections that seem to go hand in hand with being a member of the BOD.


airtwardo  (D License)

Sep 6, 2010, 9:54 AM
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I don't have any of the military connections...

That's what Sitting Bull said, but we all know how the Battle of Greasy Grass turned out! Wink

I think you could easily step into a position of that type should the spirit move you...many out here believe it's time for some 21st century communication skills & professionalism to supersede the status quo of the 'good ole boy' network and get this thing moving.

Often at some point in the game, direction is no longer as important as movement...we just need someone to pick up the ball and run with it! Cool


You have MY vote!


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Sep 6, 2010, 12:54 PM
Post #18 of 38 (2825 views)
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In reply to:
Thank you for your belief in me, Jack and Jerry.
I have not considered running for the BOD.
I'm pondering the thought now. I'm not entirely sure that I'd be the right person. I don't have any of the military connections, and I don't have any of the party connections that seem to go hand in hand with being a member of the BOD.

Add me to the "belief" list.

And, with all due respect sir (that is included to prevent this from being considered a PA) you are full of crap on that last sentence.

Why would a director need "connections" to properly serve the general membership?

Common sense, leadership abilities, integrity and a passion for the sport are, IMO, far, far more important.

Your entire attitude on the "promotions" issue is something that seems to be sadly lacking.


grimmie  (D 18890)

Sep 6, 2010, 4:44 PM
Post #19 of 38 (2798 views)
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 DSE, you have my vote. And I will help you organize a USPA Nationals at I highly visible resort, with TV coverage and corporate sponsorship.

Rich Grimm
Tsunami Skydivers Inc.
http://www.skydivebelize.com


normiss  (D 28356)

Sep 7, 2010, 7:06 AM
Post #20 of 38 (2750 views)
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You have my support as well Douglas.
I have a lot of respect for your business sense, your perspectives on safety and training, the amount of work and effort you dedicate to this sport.
Your wingsuit water training efforts are a shining example of how thorough your thoughts and efforts go.
Cool


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Sep 7, 2010, 7:32 AM
Post #21 of 38 (2744 views)
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Very surprised at the number of PM's, Facebook messages, etc.
I have not decided what to do just yet, but the challenges appear to be:
-"Why didn't you submit your name before the June deadline." (fair question)

-Will the E-vote system not only allow for write in, but how will it manage misspellings of a name?

-Can I be more effective outside or inside the "administration?"

I do have a passion for safety and training. I do have a strong business and marketing acumen. I do believe firmly that I have a few talents that would benefit the USPA as a whole, and I do have a passion for the sport and seeing it grow. Those that know me are aware that I've attended nearly every BOD meeting since I got into the sport, mostly as a body in the room.

Once I figure out the above obstacles/questions, it'll be clearer as to what I might do. There are some VERY fine people like Tom Deacon and Jan Meyer running for the BOD...I'd hate to have any impact on their chances as well.


Amazon  (D License)

Sep 7, 2010, 8:47 AM
Post #22 of 38 (2735 views)
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Run Douglas Run!!!!

Run Douglas Run!!!!


Smile


Krip  (Student)

Sep 7, 2010, 10:00 AM
Post #23 of 38 (2721 views)
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Mr Spot

Go for it!!!!

Your the right person for the jobAngelic


stratostar  (Student)

Sep 7, 2010, 10:08 AM
Post #24 of 38 (2717 views)
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Got my vote!


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Sep 7, 2010, 1:11 PM
Post #25 of 38 (2692 views)
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Hi Douglas,

Just remember the old adage: It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved.

JerryBaumchen


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