Forums: Archive: 2013-2015 USPA BOD Elections:
Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region

 

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meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 9, 2012, 4:09 PM
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Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region Can't Post

http://uspacentralregion.org
https://www.facebook.com/...ps/uspacentralregion


Twenty-three years ago, I made my first jump and now have 3,000+ skydives and 17 years as DZO of Skydive Kansas. My favorite discipline is working with students at all levels, whether it’s as an AFF Instructor, Tandem Examiner, Instructor Examiner Course Director or Master Rigger. In the non-skydiving realm, I have degrees in Education, Computer Programming and an MBA, running my own web programming company for a living.

By making the effort and being fortunate, I have enjoyed contributing to USPA outside the role of a board member. Out of the last six board meetings, I have noncompulsorily attended five. Based on eight years of using the online ground school I programmed for my own DZ, I developed USPA's http://SkydiveSchool.org. I’ve also created resource networks for DZOs, instructional rating holders, and female instructors. If elected, I will visit DZs in person as well as use technology to foster 2-way communication. I will develop tools to make S&TAs’ jobs easier and conduct annual live/virtual S&TA meetings. I will promote the region’s accomplishments in Parachutist Magazine. I will continue to cultivate efficiency and standards in education. I will listen.

I'm a mom, skydiver, drummer, teacher, student, runner, programmer, writer, speaker, closet standup comedian, stick figure artist, and designer of exquisite peanut butter and jelly sandwiches... my eclectic activities enrich my life, make me enthusiastic, experienced, efficient, balanced—all of which I want to use to contribute towards our sport in my aspiration to be the USPA Central Regional Director.

:Jen Sharp
jen@skydivekansas.com
785.840.5867

Quote:
Mahna Mahna


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Oct 9, 2012, 4:24 PM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Jen,
I'm a fairly new IE. The IRM is confusing as hell to me, it's difficult to follow, and I really have to doubt that any two IEs run anywhere near the same course. Do you have any opinions, thoughts on how to make it better?

You told us a lot about yourself in a pretty concise post. Now that we know about you, would you tell us a bit about what you'd like to accomplish as a RD. Or what you'd like to change, and realistically what you think you could affect?

Martin


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 9, 2012, 4:56 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I joke that the IRM reads like a cereal box ingredient list.

Actually just this past board meeting, I gained approval from the Safety & Training committee to work towards support materials for Examiners. I have input from other examiners and IERC directors and will have something to show the committee for the next board meeting. My first, biggest focus is for Coach Examiners. I agree that standardization is an issue. Plus, examiners are busy people and excluding a handful in our sport, most run only three or four courses a year. I want to make their job easier and raise the quality of instruction. I'm addicted to the potential for efficiency, lol.

All that I will pursue regardless of having a role on the board. But if I were Central Regional Director, my most immediate goal would be to connect our members more effectively with USPA and with me and with each other. It's so easy to hold virtual meetings and share ideas transcending location. I was hoping to hold a Central Region Q&A session with me, Joe Jackson and Gary Peek who are also running for RD, using anymeeting.com. Neither of them are interested in that, but I want to use technology like that to improve the input from membership. I see a big disconnect there and want to help bridge that gap. I also know that many people have opinions and ideas to contribute, but their preferred way of expressing it doesn't follow the routes available to them. Again, why it's important to visit dropzones in person, ask questions, establish relationships and support that through more frequent virtual means.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Oct 9, 2012, 6:13 PM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool, I could most certainly use a bit of help organizing my courses. I look forward to the information regardless the election!

I also like the idea of virtual meetings. Seems that most in this sport tend to be busy folks, many if not the majority working multiple jobs. Going to a USPA Individual, Group Member, and/or BOD meeting is a good thing, but the practicality of it for most doesn't outweigh the time and travel commitment.

An educator, techie, MBA, and a serious commitment to to the sport seems like a pretty good combination in a BOD member.

Disclaimer:
Many in the Central Region will already know that Jen and I have a working relationship with "Sister DZs" in Kansas, and we're also pretty close friends. I generally already understand what the responses will be to the questions I'm posting. That said, Jen often surprises me.

I'm generally trying to initiate a conversation. Anyone in the room is free to throw out an opinion, question, etc.

So many in the sport will bitch and complain, but refuse to participate in the politics. If you have a bone to pick, now would be a good time! Central Region or elsewhere.

Martin
DZO Air Capital DZ


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Oct 9, 2012, 6:24 PM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Jen

My vote is with Gary Peek, so far....

Sorry Joe, lol love ya brother, but you are a crazy mofo. Wink

Jen, i have a couple questions so that I may be able to make a better informed decision.

One, please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe your dropzone requires AADs for experienced jumpers. If that assumption is correct, my concern lies in would you ever consider a push for that for all jumpers through the USPA? To be clear, I choose to jump an AAD myself, so I agree with AADs, just not mandating them, as historically they have caused issues to, and are not perfect. Many very experienced (read older lol) jumpers I know refuse to jump them. I am not bashing your DZ's rules in anyway, just concerned if any of that would translate in anyway to being a RD.

Two, what is your view on DZO's being RDs? I see some issues. Once again to be clear, I am not implying you would have any of these issues, as I don't know you, and have never met you. I am just trying to get your perspective on some of them. For one I beleive a RD can appoint S&TA's. Do you think a DZO should be doing this? I can see potential conflicts of intrest. Not in you neccesarily as I have no foundation to judge you. It is just that in my limited experience in the sport I see how the big dollar can influence things and I could easily see how some DZO's can lose sight of things, and impliment an S&TA that will go with the program vs. standing up for what they should be doing.

Thirdly, Gary has been great for our region I believe. Not saying you wouldn't be, but I believe he has been, so what would make you better? Gary has been making it a point to visit different dropzones throughout his region. I have seen him at mine on many occasions. Couch Freaks. Taylorville. The list goes on. So other than doing what he apparently already has been doing, what would you do differently?

For the record Gary will be the first to tell you that I am a stubborn bull, and me and him have not always agreed on everything. That being said Gary is a good guy and a very knowledgeable skydiver. As I am sure you are. Maybe you should come to the east side of the state and introduce yourself!

Big props for running. Nothing in this post is meant as an attack. I just feel that if someone wants my vote they should be able to answer some questions, and be willing to convince me. I think it is a shame if Joe and Gary were not willing to to do the Q&A thing. You being willing to do so has raised my eyebrow Wink

edited to add: Also what is your stance on the recent WS-I proposal?


(This post was edited by EFS4LIFE on Oct 9, 2012, 6:35 PM)


stratostar  (Student)

Oct 9, 2012, 6:32 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
An educator, techie, MBA, and a serious commitment to to the sport seems like a pretty good combination in a BOD member.

But she is a dzo, we don't need any more dzo's sitting on the board there are already enough on there now, the USPA is a members org and not a DZO trade org.

1. Sherry Butcher
2. Larry Hill
3. Mike Mullins
4. Randy Allison
5. Lee Schlichtemeier
6. Todd Spillers
7. Tony Thacker
8. Jessie Farrington

All the current DZO's serving on the BOD. A few are not returning, but I fail to see how replacing them new DZO's is a good idea. Eight out of 22 seats, enough is enough.


Deisel  (D 31661)

Oct 9, 2012, 7:21 PM
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree. Too many DZOs (one of which is a very good personal friend) on the board. But the connundrum here is that the people who have fully committed to this sport full time are the DZOs. Yes, there are plenty of instructors out there that jump full time for a living. But not many of them are seeking leadership positions, but the DZOs are. Hell, they were leading the sport forward when they opened their DZs and wish to continue doing so at the next level. This is not a bad thing or a disqualifier in and of itself. We have to examine each candidate based on their track record. Not condem and stereotype them due to the self serving decisions of others.

D


stratostar  (Student)

Oct 10, 2012, 6:53 AM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

I took a look at your website for the region and I don't really see anything of added value in the way of additional information above what you posted here. However, the one thing that was noted:

Quote:
I believe the most salient issues in the sport presently are Tandem procedures, the FAA's proposed landing area requirements, and traffic pattern for canopies.

Could you please provide us a more in depth & detailed point of view, your thoughts on the FAA's proposed changes to AC 150/5300-13 and it's guidance on PLA's, how you believe this effects the industry & the airport access issues currently pending nation wide.

How you think your best suited, or what you do bring to the table to help the USPA and it's membership in addressing the airport access/PLA issue with the FAA.

Also did you submit comments to the FAA during the comment period?


(This post was edited by stratostar on Oct 10, 2012, 9:47 AM)


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Oct 10, 2012, 7:16 AM
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I took a look at your website for the region and I don't really see anything of added value in the way of additional information above what you posted here. However, the one thing that was noted:

Quote:
I believe the most salient issues in the sport presently are Tandem procedures, the FAA's proposed landing area requirements, and traffic pattern for canopies.

Could you please provide us a more in depth & detailed point of view, your thoughts on the FAA's proposed changes to AC 150/5300-13 and it's guidance on PLA's, how you believe this effects the industry & the airport access issues currently pending nation wide.

How you think your best suited, or what you do bring to the table to help the USPA and it's membership in addressing the airport access/PLA issue with the FAA.

Also did you submit comments to the FAA during the comment period?

Just an FYI:
It may be tomorrow before Jen can reply, she's tied up today. I did see her response on the PLA to the FAA.


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Oct 10, 2012, 1:46 PM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Oops I think I confused Skydive Kansas with Skydive Kansas City. They maybe the ones requiring AADs. Anywho......


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Oct 10, 2012, 1:59 PM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Oops I think I confused Skydive Kansas with Skydive Kansas City. They maybe the ones requiring AADs. Anywho......

No, SD Kansas was pretty early in requiring AADs.

I was talking with someone the other day about the "rash" of Central Region folks who've flown themselves into the ground of late. SD KS was also fairly early with a wing loading requirement, also restricting if not banning high performance landings. My point was that SD KS has been in operation since 1994 or 1995, and you can count the number of serious injuries and deaths on,... well no hands.

I could cut/paste a response to this same issue from a Facebook thread. Anyone here can find that though, and I know that she'll respond in kind when she can.


Premier faulknerwn  (D 17441)
Moderator
Oct 10, 2012, 3:09 PM
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

FYI Todd Spillers used to be a DZO but his dropzone closed a few years back and he no longer is.


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 10, 2012, 3:33 PM
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

I have heard that sentiment many times, but I am still not clear on what is disadvantageous for a DZO to be a BOD member? I'm not being argumentative here; I sincerely do not see the negative impact.

In 2005, I actually started a dropzone owners organization dzos.net which is an intermittently active email list.

As far as my dropzone, well, I earn a living as a web programmer, not as a dropzone owner. Skydive Kansas just supports itself and I am able to pay my team and put money back into the business. We are open weekends year round and some summer weekdays. I named a "general manager" so I can be gone to teach courses at other dropzones or watch my kiddos in some music recital or whatever. Actually, did I say I am addicted to the potential for efficiency? As a programmer, I've set up manifest and reservations so it runs itself pretty well, with reduced input from me. I still am responsible for cleaning toilets, however. LOL


1. Sherry sold the DZ a couple of years ago.
5. Lee has done more for this organization than most people realize or understand. The financial stability and expertise he has given USPA has been amazing.
6. Todd closed his DZ at least a year ago.
8. Jessie is not running this year.


stratostar  (Student)

Oct 10, 2012, 3:36 PM
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Re: [faulknerwn] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Your are correct, I forgot his place closed.


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 10, 2012, 3:37 PM
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is what I sent to the FAA regardling PLAs:

Thank you for accepting comments from the skydiving public regarding Parachute Landing Areas. I would like to put context to my comments by giving you a few details about my experience and position in the sport, then outline some issues I see not only at my airport, but in general with the direction this rule making is taking, then finally, offer a more viable solution to what seems to be impetus for this action.

My Experience
Twenty-three years ago, I made my first jump and now have 3,000 skydives and 17 years as the dropzone owner of Skydive Kansas. My favorite part of this sport is working with students at all levels, whether it’s as an AFF Instructor, Tandem Examiner, Instructor Examiner Course Director or Master Rigger. In the non-skydiving realm, I have degrees in Education, Computer Programming and an MBA, running my own web programming company for a living. Based on eight years of using the online ground school I programmed for my own DZ, I developed USPA's SkydiveSchool.org. I’ve also created resource networks for DZOs, instructional rating holders, and female instructors. I approach this issue as an educated and experienced professional in skydiving, education and business.

My Dropzone
Definitely the landing area at the federally funded Osage City Kansas Municipal Airport 53K would be affected and outside the scope of what is proposed for PLAs, mostly due to the 45 degree angle measuring near an obstacle. If PLAs are adopted as it is worded now, Skydive Kansas would not be in compliance and we would have to discontinue operations at Osage City airport. I currently have approximately 20 people working on staff as contract work, seasonally and part time. We are hub for educational courses in the Midwest, as we offer instruction for beginners all the way up to examiners.

We have approximately 338,000 square feet of useable landing area, but it is long and narrow and doesn't meet the requirements of circular distance to target. We have effectively been using this landing area with NO incidents of collision or even close calls for 17 years. This can be verified by our FAA oversight from the Wichita FSDO as well as the city management in Osage City. I actually attribute this excellent record directly to the shape of the landing being narrow. Everyone who lands at Skydive Kansas MUST follow THE pattern, without exception, or they simply would not be able to land on the airport. Students, include solo students jumping their own equipment, have very little problem making our landing area and always fly the pattern correctly. (Again, they HAVE to.) We do not allow high speed swooping, and nothing more than 90 degree turns to final because a swooper cannot abort their final approach and come out at an angle. That is the only prohibition that is necessary for us. In fact, our jumpers and student even are very accurate canopy pilots and can land in crosswind with no problem. We do find that turbulence shuts down operations when we have west wind, but other than those two mitigating factors, the size and shape of our landing area actually help make the traffic pattern very consistent among any kind of jumper with any kind of canopy.
[See our approved patterns and policies here: http://www.skydivekansas.com/upjumpers]

Our canopy traffic pattern flows nicely with aircraft traffic even though the base leg of our pattern lies across the runway. This is because aircraft on the runway are at 0 feet AGL, and we are around 400 feet AGL at that point. We do not extend our pattern outside the ends of the runway so that we are never off the end of the runway at any altitude that an aircraft might happen to be. This proximity also makes us very visible, and limits the amount of scanning both parachutists and pilots must do to have all traffic in sight.

There is a significant difference between the concepts of “canopy landing pattern” and “canopy traffic pattern” that is not always distinguished even among skydivers. The landing pattern is simply a downwind, base leg, and final approach plan that uses altitudes to allow an individual to land safely and accurately. A traffic pattern, on the other hand, takes into account the actual landing area itself, hazards, prevailing weather conditions, other aircraft, and most importantly, other skydivers. While a parachutist might correctly fly a landing pattern, they must be educated and guided on the correct traffic pattern in order to flow with procedures at a particular airport. Dictating square footage and distance to hazards does nothing to help define a safe traffic pattern.

I have the good fortunate to travel to other dropzones in my role as an Examiner Director, teaching courses in many other states on airports with varying landing arrangements. One cookie cutter solution would not fit into every landing area I have seen. In some places, the dropzone communicated their preference for skydivers to stack themselves vertically in their pattern so that jumpers were landing at different times, teaching them techniques such as using brakes or risers to control descent times. Other dropzones dictated one or two acceptable patterns for the day taking in consideration hazards and current wind directions. In all cases I noticed that having MORE room to land would not have helped with traffic or would not have reduced any risk of collision. In fact, having MORE room could be extrapolated to mean less structure and increased potential for conflict.

My Alternative
For several years, we had LifeStar medical helicopter operations not only on our field, but hangared in the same hangar with us. We developed easy to implement procedures to allow our operations to exist with NO conflict. The can be verified by the manager/chief pilot of LifeStar of Kansas. Our organizations worked seamlessly together, largely due to a well developed and communicated plan. We printed out procedures and had them laying directly next to the aerial map for visiting skydivers, put these procedures in our SOP, and taught the concepts to our students as a routine part of landing. We also continually checked with the crew to make sure the plan was working well for all parties.

Presumably, the proposed rule making of PLAs has its intention based in reducing incidents. However, I am not aware of any significant recurrence of incidents or close calls involving parachutes with aircraft, and I keep myself abreast of current issues as a preventative philosophy. Regardless, the outcome of greater safety could more easily be accomplished by requiring dropzones operating on these airports to produce a Traffic Pattern Procedure, a clear written explanation of what is expected. It would be developed in conjunction with other airport users, supplied to all skydivers and other users and supported by a procedure for continual evaluation, giving it the feedback necessary to have this be a living flexible guide tailored to consider important details for a specific location.

I would gladly give more details, stats, explanation, photos, even personal interview with FAA, etc. We have a great working relationship with our FSDO and recently during a phone conversation, our Operations Inspector lauded our approach to safety. I think we are an ideal case that points to the fact that policy, procedure and communication work much better for safe landing areas than an overly simplistic square footage requirement. Even at all forms of government, you hear the word "overregulation" but never the word "over-education." Basic consistent safety regulations coupled with a simple, helpful, standard repository for educational materials should be the timeless approach for which we all strive.


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 10, 2012, 3:55 PM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Yes, Skydive Kansas has required AADs for about a decade now. This was a decision based largely on making sure we keep our City satisfied with our procedures and do whatever we can to reduce their risk. I do NOT think USPA should move towards requiring AADs for every jumper. Each dropzone should be responsible to make decisions based on what makes sense for their particular situation. In general, I believe in less regulation and more education.

2. Can you spell out what issues you foresee? The only one I can see is the ability to travel, which... I travel already teaching courses and have a GREAT TEAM who can run the DZ without me. I have another S&TA at my dz which I think helps checks/balances. In general, I'm a pretty conservative decision maker though, and I don't make my living from skydiving, so I am free to make the choices I want without the financial consideration unbalanced. I have a real job. And two kids that I love very much.

3. I spoke to Gary before the last election about wanting to step into his shoes if he was ready to step down. Gary and I used to talk alot, but not since I called him personally to tell him I was going to run for Central RD, unfortunately. I am not running against Gary so much as running FOR the position. I have heard from people on THIS side of the state that they never see Gary over here. So... about what I would do to make this region better, I am efficient, communicative, and would be honored to have the opportunity to serve the members in the ways they need me. Specifically on my radar is giving instructors and examiners more resources to do their job in a standard and EASIER way. In addition, connecting dropzones to each other, and S&TAs to each other is something that could be cultivated, furthering a peer relationship, instead of one way up the ladder.

4. Wingsuit instructor... that is a difficult issue, and I have not been privy to information that puts me on one side or the other yet. If I had to vote on something, I would need to get more feedback from wingsuiters in my region.

I don't take anything in your post as attack; on the contrary, it's refreshing to have some real questions! Maybe there's still interest in doing a virtual Q&A, even if it's just with me? Anyone? .... ?


stratostar  (Student)

Oct 10, 2012, 5:50 PM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for posting your comments, a simple yes I did submit was all that as asked for, so thx.

What is of most interest on this issue, is the fact that other DZ's in the central region will be forced to close or move if the standards are enacted as written.

What I would like to know is...

1. You may be serving on committees or attending meetings that are dealing with current airport access problems as well as new problems from the FAA's new standards being enacted. What is your plan or what do you bring to the table to assist members and group members that will be effected or are currently effected.

2. What are your views on the 12 or so currently pending access cases nation wide and what are your thoughts on your roll as and RD if elected now holding a seat on the BOD in helping to solve the nation wide problem that is about to get much bigger, most likely. (You maybe asked to vote on rules, spend money, and other legal matters that effect a great deal of dz's dealing with being locked out or getting kicked out of airports and or matters involving the FAA and USPA taking legal action towards the FAA over the PLA standards)


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 10, 2012, 6:40 PM
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What do I bring to the table? I am a DZO. ;)

2. I don't have specific information about the 12 cases you're talking about, so I couldn't speak to that individually, but I am pro airport access AND pro responsible, respectful professional, prepared skydivers wanting access who have a business plan and know their stuff. I've had LifeStar helicopter operations not only shared on our field, but sharing our hangar. We can easily co-exist with general aviation, and with some communication and education and proactive PR, perhaps we can tip the scales back to balance in this issue. WIth greater visibility comes greater scrutiny. THIS is the very reason why USPA exists... this collective support is USPA's directive really.


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Oct 11, 2012, 6:19 AM
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Yes, Skydive Kansas has required AADs for about a decade now. This was a decision based largely on making sure we keep our City satisfied with our procedures and do whatever we can to reduce their risk. I do NOT think USPA should move towards requiring AADs for every jumper. Each dropzone should be responsible to make decisions based on what makes sense for their particular situation. In general, I believe in less regulation and more education.
Quote:
SD KS was also fairly early with a wing loading requirement, also restricting if not banning high performance landings.

AAD mandate, WL requirement, and high performance landing ban too. While I fully support a DZO's right to do whatever they deem necessary to keep their dropzone as safe as possible, I also fully support my right not to jump there. You state you believe in less regulation, and more education, but at your own dropzone you went the route of over-regulation instead of education. Again, I support your right to run your business how you see fit for sure, but your actions have shown different than your than your words. It kind of sounds like Mitt Romney saying his government health care plan in Mass. is somehow different than Obama Care for the country. I don't buy it.

Quote:
Can you spell out what issues you foresee?

I addressed one of them in my earlier post. I stated such as a conflict of interest in a DZO appointing S&TA's. While evident by your DZ regulations you definitely seem conservative, and I doubt that specific issue would surface in your tenure due to your obvious commitment to safety, it was still an issue I foresaw, and you did not address it.

Quote:
Gary and I used to talk alot, but not since I called him personally to tell him I was going to run for Central RD, unfortunately. I am not running against Gary so much as running FOR the position. I have heard from people on THIS side of the state that they never see Gary over here.

"Gary and I used to talk alot" So by your own admission Gary is easily accessible correct? If anyone in our region claims that Gary is not, then I can only laugh and call them an idiot, because they haven't tried. I believe Gary has visited your dropzone. Maybe he would do so more if he could actually jump there, but I think he might exceed your maximum weight requirement. He is kinda a big guy.

Quote:
Wingsuit instructor... that is a difficult issue, and I have not been privy to information that puts me on one side or the other yet. If I had to vote on something, I would need to get more feedback from wingsuiters in my region.

Well Jen if I were you I would start getting that feedback because you will have to vote on that on this upcoming ballot correct? While a personal vote is private, and does not require disclosure, I believe someone running for election should have to disclose their stance on relevant and pertinent issues. Otherwise the voters will be voting blind. You are either dodging the question, unprepared to take a stance publicly, or honestly are undecided still. With less than a month before the ballot I would hope everyone, especially someone running for RD, has put some thought into this issue already. So could you please state your stance, or at least hurry up with obtaining that feedback so you can state your stance on this issue before the election? It is pretty important for my vote for sure. I plan on calling Gary and getting his stance on it as well, as we honestly have not discussed the issue together yet.


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 11, 2012, 8:26 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of the policy Skydive Kansas implemented was during a time when our City looked deeper into our procedures and requested we do what we could to reduce their risk and liability. I stand by my support of the fantastic relationship we have and respect their wishes. The high performance landing ban is due to our landing area being 1/2 mile long but only 95 feet wide at best. If someone had to abort a high performance turn initiated at too low altitude, there are no outs.
(Technically, high performance landings are not banned. Hook turns are... see http://skydivekansas.com/upjumpers )

My stance here is not a contradiction: Local control allows the greatest possibilities for freedom in aggregate.

Digression here, but if I were in charge of publication, for the sake of clarity, I would extract Section 2 of the SIM, the BSRs, add the FARs from the back of the book, add the Governance Manual, then publish it as USPA Regulation. The rest of the SIM is education and recommendations.

For appointing S&TAs, I would simply refer to and follow procedures specified in Section 1-4.4A of the Governance Manual. (Side note: number 2 under that heading... annual meeting? Instead of a one-way email, a virtual online interactive meeting sure would be neat! One step further...)

Yes, Gary has always been accessible. Two things. First, I have noticed and now foster something when I teach courses: there is a difference between the relationship of examiner to candidate compared to the relationship of candidate to candidate. Peer support and connection is one step further than simply being accessible. Secondly, responding TO constituency is different than proactively supporting. Steve Jobs was innovative because he knew what consumers wanted before they did. I aspire to go one step further.

I haven't yet reached decision altitude on the Wingsuit Instructor issue. Here's my thought process, however, if you want some transparency. I have sat in on most of the S&T committee meetings where this issue was discussed. I was totally impressed with the organization and professionalism of DSE's program, which he presented in exactly the same format the SIM and IRM already exists, dovetailing nicely with what is already in place. As a DZO with zero wingsuit jumps, I like the idea of having experts hand me guidelines so that I do not have to become an expert myself, whether the result is an instructional rating program or a proficiency card like the CP issue. In the latest S&T Committee meeting, Rich Winstock and Merriah Eakins had done their homework as the subcommittee in charge of reaching out to membership to gain their general consensus. Regardless of the outcome of this particular issue, I think their efforts to proactively gather opinions should be applauded and COPIED! The results from that were mostly favorable towards an instructor rating. However, the handful of wingsuiters I know personally and whose insight I respect all unanimously disapprove of the idea of it being a rating. In addition, USPA HQ staff at this last meeting clearly expressed their concern with the cost and heavy bureaucracy that an entirely new instructor rating would carry, citing that staff is maxed with work as it is and they would need to hire in order to implement this. Once we go down that road, we can never pull back and say, "oops, that didn't work..." Perhaps another intermittent idea is yet to emerge that would lend the stability and guidance without being heavy in implementation.


(This post was edited by meekerseeker on Oct 11, 2012, 10:44 AM)


stratostar  (Student)

Oct 11, 2012, 10:57 PM
Post #21 of 32 (3039 views)
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

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I am pro airport access AND pro responsible, respectful professional, prepared skydivers wanting access who have a business plan and know their stuff.
Quote:

I’ve been following airport access issues for a number of years now. One of the most interesting cases I have read about happened back in 2006. In 2006 I was in another region and not the central region, but having started my career in the central region back in the mid 70’s and having a number of life long jumper friends in the region, I found that case very interesting to follow. I’m sure you might remember this case.

In 2006 a USPA member in good standing, Mr. Paul Eriksmoen, moved back to the Kansas City area where he is from and has family, after spending years back east working in the skydiving industry gaining experience. Once he moved back he & his wife started working on a dream he had to return to KC and open a dropzone.

What soon transpired was nothing but underhanded dirty politics by the other area DZO’s and their little followers. In fact a review of the public records clearly shows that what was offered to the sitting City of Harrisonville Missouri, City Commissioners as fact, was nothing but a bunch of misleading and twisted lies being stated by Mr. Chris Hall, owner of Skydive KC & Mr. Tom Dolphin, Owner of Missouri River Valley Skydivers and one of Mr. Dolphin’s staff members, Mr. Don Zarda. Anyone can do a quick Google search for “Kansas City Skydiving Center", where they can read all the lies and misinformation in the published public records of the meeting minutes for the City of Harrisonville Mo. and what was said and passed off as fact by these three other, individual USPA members, two of whom at the time were also Group Member DZ owners.

All of these claims made, were in direct opposition to the in person testimony of Mr. Ed Scott, the USPA Director of Government Relations at that time. Things got so ugly in this access case on the local level, that flyers were put up and handed out around town, there were reports of people going door to door in town hand the flyers out. Clearly this flyer was drafted by someone well versed in skydiving and what skydivers do, but written in a derogatory tone toward not only the skydiving industry, but Mr. Paul Eriksmone as well. There were even news stories being published about how the skydivers would run off the life flight if skydiving was allowed on that airport, seems some concerned citizens called the paper and told them that little tidbit.

http://www.emsworld.com/...ould-oust-lifeflight

All of this was followed up with a number of very nasty and ugly threads on these very dropzone.com forums and those are searchable as well on here for everyone to read the nasty political crap being thrown around by those two DZO’s and their cheerleaders.

During those online smear campaign’s being conducted by Don Zarda and Tom Dolphin and some of Mr. Halls jumpers, a number of people who were in those meetings told me personally via PM’s and phone calls, that you had attended all of those meetings and that you were there to lend your full support to the attempted political sabotaging of this start up business by those other two DZO’s and Mr. Zarda.

When people make those accusatory statements about your reasons for attended those meetings and a 3rd party took a quick look back in 2006, both of those two dropzone owners were your clients at the time, and are in fact your clients now and have been for a number of years.. From a distance, it would appear that you had a client/business interest in supporting these actions being taken by your clients and fellow dropzone owners, as people claimed. And anyone in the sport for some/anytime would know how politics are in the skydiving world and well, there is known reputation the KC area has for dirty politics, as a dropzone owner you also had a vested interest in seeing that this new DZ did not open in your area and compete for market share.

Before you shoot messenger here, this is what was said about you then, by more than one DZ.com poster in the KC area who attended the meetings. I was not there, I don’t now nor did I live in KC in 2006, I have no idea what the truth is as to your involvement in all of this mess, other then I know for a fact you attended each and every meeting in Harrisonville Missouri and sat in the back of the audience.

So could you please take this opportunity to now inform the voting constituents’ what was your reason for attended all the City of Harrisonville Missouri City Commission meetings in regards a USPA member in good standing, Mr. Paul Eriksmone’s business dealings with the City of Harrisonville Missouri.

Were you or were you not there to support your friends, clients and fellow area dropzone owners and their staff members attempted sabotage of that start up dz?

http://ci.harrisonville.mo.us/...020606%20Minutes.pdf

http://www.ci.harrisonville.mo.us/...022106%20Minutes.pdf

http://www.dropzone.com/...&t=search_engine

http://www.dropzone.com/...ng%20center;#2177951
Attachments: Harrisonvile-Flyer.jpg (194 KB)


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 12, 2012, 4:58 AM
Post #22 of 32 (3019 views)
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting that you bring this up, and I'm impressed and encouraged with individuals like you who have long term vision and a sense of history in the sport. Often times I think when poor decisions are made, it is mostly due to shortsightedness in either breadth or depth. I attended only three of the Harrisonville council meetings, the last of which I put myself in line to speak, but I never got to say what I wanted to say because the council had had enough by then and shut off comments. The people at my dropzone heard my thoughts on the matter, but the Kansas City skydiving community never did. I assumed I would never have an opportunity again, so thank you for that. Before I share what I was going to say that evening with you, let me point out a few things:

1. Paul Eriksmoen made his first 200 jumps at Skydive Kansas, earning his license with us. I knew him fairly well at the time, and in the beginning of his pursuit of a dz in Kansas City lended some support in the form of phone conversations and advice. I think I knew about his intentions to open a dz well before most other people did. After a few conversations where I told Paul things he didn't want to hear (mostly urging him to be ethical, honest, and forthcoming) Paul stopped calling to ask for my advice and support.

2. I do not consider myself in the Kansas City market. I don't buy advertising there and I am not in any yellow pages in those areas. Although we do draw some from Kansas City, it is not from my pursuit of it, as our area of focus is heavier near Emporia, Topeka, Lawrence.

3. Skydive KC is not a client of mine through JenSharp.com. Skydive MRVS has been, but I set up a system for him to manage himself. They are by no means a staple client, and believe me, he got a bargain on what I created for him. I tend to do that, though... give away my talents and time and resources to the skydiving community for very little financial gain. (see also skydiveschool.org) Ask anyone who knows me.

4. It was my concept to start the All Kansas Cessna Skydiving Boogie with Martin Myrtle in order to bring together the dropzones in the state. Anyone who knows me (obviously you do not) knows my intention to unite instead of compete or divide. Although some business-only minded individuals admonish me that this is not a good philosophy, I do not consider other dropzones in my area as competitors as such... I believe my biggest competitor is the group of mid-range priced items costing around $200 such as the iPhone that consumers can chose over a first skydive. I suppose I have the luxury of that because I have a real job, and my income is not dependent on my dropzone. Besides, I'm simply not highly motivated by money. I give time, ideas, and attention to the dropzones around me and even distant dropzones I travel to, in order to increase their efficiency and better their educational programs. Paul knew this, too, and even specifically told me he would love to be part of the relationships I created.

5. I am a drummer, so I usually can only count to four then have to start over... just kidding. Actually, there is a number that follows "2"... Assuming there are only two sides to a story, or only two positions on an issue, limits the possibilities of choices for an outcome or finding a solution. I aligned neither with Paul nor the other DZOs; even they will tell you, I did not.. I am one of independent thought. (Bet you couldn't figure that out about me?)


Now, what I wanted to say that night included a personal account of what was currently happening at my dropzone, germane to the core of the discussions in those meetings. At that time, we had LifeStar helicopter operations not only on our field, but in our hangar. We co-existed easily and smoothly with no conflict. I wanted to outline how we made that possible and quite frankly, force Paul to be honest with what was reasonable and possible. At Skydive Kansas we respected LifeStar's right and priority on the field. We recognized and appreciated the job they do for the community. We had multiple discussions about communication and time frame, and even contingency plans. We handed every jumper and posted an informational sheet about Landing Protocol. We mitigated risk and kept lines of communication open. I touched base with them regularly, even if there were no issues to address. We were humble and accommodating, and they reciprocated. As ambassadors for the sport, I felt we represented well, and I know even to this day, the larger, lasting impact we had on even surrounding communities because we took that approach. What you do comes back to you. I was not there to say he shouldn't be on that airport. I was there to show how he COULD be. However, they were not on the right track to make that happen.

Irrespective of what others did "TO" him, Paul hung himself here. Just one example, I personally heard Paul tell city officials that skydivers wouldn't ever land off the airport. On many occasions, he misrepresented the risks as well as the abilities of the skydivers. I felt his exaggerations were going to lead to major conflict in the very near future. What he was promising was just not possible. Later I also found out he had problems paying his debt, again, a window to his integrity, or lack thereof. I was extremely disappointed with Paul. From my perspective, this was not about airport access. It was personal responsibility and honesty. The behavior of EVERYONE, and I mean everyone including the other DZOs, just made skydivers look bad to the public. That damage is so difficult to repair. We should all be proactive in PR, and I know personally of two other airport access issues near me that would not have been issues at all if the skydivers involved simply took on a professional, humble, proactive, honest approach. Very sad for our sport. City governments talk to each other. I wonder how many cities hear of other dropzone problems and resist purely on reputation of someone else. All of us suffer from these types of events.

Your bolded red question was:
Quote:
Were you or were you not there to support your friends, clients and fellow area dropzone owners and their staff members attempted sabotage of that start up dz?
My simple answer:
I was there to support my friends, clients, other DZOs and future DZOs, staff members, the sport, other skydivers in general in both the present and the future. Period. I failed to accomplish that. I felt we all failed, and we will continue to fail until we take a hard look at ourselves and one big reason airport access issues exist in many cases.


flyboy6554  (D 12846)

Oct 12, 2012, 10:57 PM
Post #23 of 32 (2940 views)
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Re: [meekerseeker] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Quote:
but I never got to say what I wanted to say because the council had had enough by then and shut off comments. The people at my dropzone heard my thoughts on the matter, but the Kansas City skydiving community never did.

What a shame.....your input on the Life Flight issue might have helped a lot.....did you ever write an email to the Harrisonville City Council concerning this topic? Did you ever post your thoughts on this issue or the Harrisonville dz in generel on dz.com? I don't seem to recall your chiming in on this issue.

Quote:
I do not consider myself in the Kansas City market.

Hard to buy this one, Jen....a simple Google search of skydive Kansas City seems to bring up your website.

Quote:
Later I also found out he had problems paying his debt,

But that was probably several YEARS later, so it could not have influenced your opinion of him at THAT time, right??

In my book, actions always speak much louder than words. After attending three of the city council meetings and listening to a preponderence of the totally ridiculous and inflammatory testimony offered by Dolphin and Hall you were still reluctant to make any comments in public regarding the appropriateness of this kangaroo court. That was certainly your right, and you were under no obligation to do anything else. But as a potential RD, I have a problem with that.

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

You are clearly no wilting little wallflower, Jen. Your comittment to the sport speaks for itself; your reluctance to take a stand on this issue, although several years in the past, does not reflect well on your desire to NOW be the central regional director. In this case, the appearance my be inaccurate, but it is hard NOT to surmise that you may have elected to not get your hands dirty and let the other two DZO's do the damage for you; you DID have a vested interest in this outcome, despite your contrary comments. Your involvement with one of the DZO's as a business client further clouds the issue.

What will you do as the Central RD if this happens again, even closer to home?

I want my regional director to be someone who is an advocate for ALL dz's and ANY potential new dz's in the area.......this airport access issue could be the ultimate boiling tipover point for the survival of the sport, especially with the new proposed FAA landing requirements that may still be forced upon us.

I do NOT want my RD to be someone who sits in the back of a city council townhall meeting wearing a Skydive Kansas sweatshirt and who does not or will not come out and ADAMANTLY testify in favor of our sport's expansion, especially if the issue is airport access to a federally funded airport.


meekerseeker  (D 17516)

Oct 13, 2012, 4:06 AM
Post #24 of 32 (2929 views)
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Re: [flyboy6554] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

Absolutely I agree with you; that is largely why I felt I failed. That time in my life six years ago was very trying, and indicative in unrelated personal ways how not having a voice or not speaking up can contribute negatively in nearly equal significance. Like many people, I used to see conflict as inherently bad; it's not. Conflict is a natural result of different perspectives that when combined, can allow a clearer overall picture to emerge. Well, we can always armchair-quarterback the past, but I actually doubt what I had to say would have made the difference LONG term, as the biggest factor in the demise of Paul's pursuit was himself.

History is replete with examples of consequences and backlash when an individual speaks up, especially if in the minority or a position of less power. I'm no stranger to this myself. I could list many examples, but here's an interesting one: around that same time frame at a boogie, a skydiver disgruntled with our wingloading policy peed on me in my sleep. (I probably just threw this off topic, didn't I?) So, yes, I realize the potential repercussions from taking a stance, but if I didn't think it was worth the possible good yet to be accomplished, I wouldn't have put my name on the list for this election.


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Oct 13, 2012, 6:48 PM
Post #25 of 32 (2869 views)
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Re: [stratostar] Jen Sharp Regional Director for Central Region [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
An educator, techie, MBA, and a serious commitment to to the sport seems like a pretty good combination in a BOD member.

But she is a dzo, we don't need any more dzo's sitting on the board there are already enough on there now, the USPA is a members org and not a DZO trade org.

1. Sherry Butcher
2. Larry Hill
3. Mike Mullins
4. Randy Allison
5. Lee Schlichtemeier
6. Todd Spillers
7. Tony Thacker
8. Jessie Farrington

All the current DZO's serving on the BOD. A few are not returning, but I fail to see how replacing them new DZO's is a good idea. Eight out of 22 seats, enough is enough.

And this list does not include Board members that are in reality a proxy for a DZO.

USPA was originally a member organization, to be for the benefit of the individual jumpers. Now that we have “Group Members” it has become a “trade organization” or “industry trade group”. This is what got USPA in trouble in their dealings with Skyride. They had to settle a suit with Skyride and to this day the BD will not reveal how much the cost the dues paying members. Look into the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act.

DZO’s as Board members is a conflict of interest right from the start. You end up with representatives of the business selling the service voting on issues that affect the members that buy the service. Quit often the interests of the DZO will be quite different from those of the individual dues paying members.

The DZO’s are given access to a jumper’s complete jumping history while the jumper has no way of checking if the DZO is complying with the “Group Member Pledge” or the “Skydiving Service Code of Conduct”. That leaves the individual members sort of the step child in this whole mess.

Of course this is just my opinion.

Sparky


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