I started jumping in 1980 at Lake Elsinore, and although
it took me until 1981 to made my second jump, I have been firmly hooked ever
since. I have since accumulated
4920 jumps, 86+ Hours of freefall and the usual assortment of wings, badges
and awards that go along with the time and exits.
These ratings, combined with my appointments as both a Coach Course Director, Tandem Course Director (Vector/Sigma) and an AFF Designated Evaluator, have enabled me to travel all around Florida and into Georgia, not to mention Japan and other world wide points as a working skydiver.
Just as some skydivers are proud of their dedication as competitors, I am equally proud of being an Instructor. Part of that pride has always included a dedication to safety, and to a never ending goal to enhance those skills.
As Regional Director, I have tried to maintain an available profile, if not a prominent one. What I have found in general is that while members want to contact their Regional Director now and again, having me poised on their shoulders is not the preferred location. I've dealt with any number of issues ranging from continued BSR violations resulting in revoked membership/ratings, all the way down to settling squabbles about how a DZ should be allowed to advertise. Of course, there's also the happy side of being able to verify & present various awards and achievements to members, the crown of these being able to present Lew Sanborn with the first 50 year member of USPA at the POPs Springfest this year.
I get my photo in the magazine doing the "upside" of the job when I'm presenting these awards, but I've always tried to keep the "downside" issues quiet; it wouldn't surprise me if you hadn't heard about them, bad news rides a fast horse, and I have tried to give the white knight a head start.
On the association side, I have been one of the strongest
voices in editing the new student training manuals, as well as the re-modified
SIM. I currently sit as Chair of the Training Sub-Committee (within
the Safety & Training Committee), so I have responsibilities to my voice
as well. I have always stead fast in my goal of maintaining the standards
by which the association rates jumpmasters, and in fact I have pushed to increase
the standards by which our association rates instructors in ALL disciplines.
The rating process in USPA's AFF program has been emulated by almost every
other country - in fact, some countries have copied it without changes -
which I see as a high compliment: it would be a shame to lose that international
standing, much less the safety record that our AFF program has attained.
USPA's AFF Certification Course has yielded an instructional staff, hence students jumps, with an amazing world wide safety standard. This is the standard I want to see maintained overall. Safety to our students should be the single priority to consider when rating instructors.
I am also sitting as Chairman of the Membership Services Committee, and in that time I have overseen the implementation of an online membership database, web page enhancements, relocated director listings in Parachutist for easier member access, investigated membership benefits including pager, cell phone and personal insurance discounts, and worked to improve the associations relationship with insurance companies in providing individual and demonstration jump insurances. While not successful in all of these pursuits, it has been important to me to use the chair to improve the "perks" of membership. The jewel that will soon be in place will be the USPA Winter Giveaway, wherein a USPA member will receive a full set of equipment, from gloves to both canopies in a container. The final details are being completed for the first giveaway next January.
While student training - hence safety - is of utmost importance to me, I also see the critical nature of a membership that enjoys paying it's dues every year. The main benefits of membership tend to be hidden (government lobbying, FAA relations, etc.) but the fun stuff (magazine, car rental cards, etc.) are most noticed. Membership services oversees these functions, and I've enhanced them wherever I could.
My 22 year history in skydiving gives me a particularly useful perspective on continuing in this position over other candidates. I attained my first instructional rating in 1985 and almost immediately began putting out static line students at Lake Elsinore. When they closed I worked at San Diego Air Sports until shortly before I moved to the southeast. I became an Instructor as soon as the one year jumpmastering requirement was filled (1986), and that same year became an AFF instructor. In 1992 I started doing tandems, now hold ratings in both Strong and Vector, and I have become a Relative Workshop Examiner for Vector and Sigma. (I had attained a Racer rating as well, but let it lapse due to the few number of rigs available to maintain my currency).
These ratings, along with my career of skydiving travels, have allowed me to continue traveling and learn more about what needs skydivers all over have, as well as the needs of the students and staff at these Drop Zones.
I have always considered the needs of the skydivers jumping at both the small and large DZ's. When I started jumping in 1980, few members had access to the large aircraft of the time (DC-3's and Twin Beeches) and the "Cessna Centers" were predominate. Having spent a great deal of time at those smaller centers, it's easy for me to relate to those jumpers, and attempt to fill their needs while keeping the "Turbine Jumpers" in mind as well.
In a nutshell: I believe in and have maintained a required
presence for membership mediations and violation investigations, a commitment
to keeping students safe, and a desire to improve the presence of USPA to
it's membership; I will continue to drive these goals homeward during
another term as Regional Director.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have an questions or comments, or contact me via the information listed
in the Directors section of Parachutist - I am always available to pursue
any reasonable discussion.
If you have any questions or comments ...
drop me an email, and let me know!