Hi, I am Andrew Lambdin-Abraham and I am running for the position of Volunteer Official Representative to the USA Fencing Board of Directors to focus on some important aspects of our sport that have not been priorities recently. The Board’s purpose is to oversee the management of USA Fencing and set the priorities that we focus on. Chief among these are providing coaching education programs, the customer service experience, and improving working conditions for officials. With progress on these priorities, we can achieve the financial stability and membership growth that our sport needs.
I started fencing in college and have been refereeing nearly as long, including the very tough times over the past two quadrenniums where officials reimbursements were extremely delayed. I am a regular referee in Division I Epee and started working internationally. It’s a pleasure to see athletes, parents, coaches and volunteers from all over the country and share our enthusiasm and fun in participating in this sport. I am Vice Chair of the South Texas Division and the Southwest Section and know the challenges facing our local fencing bodies. I have attended most of the Board meetings and conference calls over the last few years and kept track of the issues they deal with and demands of the position.
My primary priority is to get USA Fencing back into the field of coaching education. Years ago we operated a summer program called Coaches College which was extremely successful. I intend to bring it back and commit to training new and existing coaches to expand our sport and allow more people to experience fencing. This is my top priority within the constraints of our budget and operational realities.
A priority I bring from my professional life at an extremely customer service focused organization is to measure and improve the experience of our members. We need to identify how satisfied our athletes, parents, local officers and officials are with our National Office, our tournaments, and our processes, and what we can do to improve the experience with each of those. We need to measure, we need to identify causes, and we need know what is working well and what needs improving.
As the Volunteer Staff representative and as an experienced volunteer for the Association, I have a special responsibility to look out for the experiences and working conditions of our volunteers. Right now there are significant stresses on our cadre who work at our National Tournaments, and many opportunities to improve things for local volunteers as well. I think with proper planning and preparation, we can make National Tournaments run better, less stressful for our staff and participants, and make our volunteers feel appreciated and that they have a path for progress to their goals.
Fiscally, our organization seems on the right track to becoming healthy again. We have started controlling expenses and paying down our debt, and if we stick to this path and are responsible I believe we will become and stay solvent and can expand our programs. In the past, this discipline has not occurred. It is my intention to insist on a suitable surplus in the budget until we are in full fiscal health and to oppose any budget that includes a deficit until it can be made up out of our reserves.