Photo Credit: Pugski.com
From The ParkRecord...
Tom Kelly, vice president of communications at U.S. Ski and Snowboard, sat in the atrium of the Center of Excellence next to a gold-painted stump positioned as an end table. Kelly, who has worked with U.S. Ski and Snowboard since 1986, is readying to leave the organization.
Though he said he probably didn't have to be there that day, or any day now that the staff transition was essentially complete, he wanted to. For one thing, he wanted to take advantage of the last six weeks of his career with the organization. But also, after 32 years of telling athletes' stories through his public relations work and his Behind the Gold columns in The Park Record — with a dedication that recently earned him the U.S. Olympic Committee's Building Dreams Award, for helping athletes reach their potential — Kelly was ready to share his own story.
So, how does a kid growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, in the 1950s and '60s go on to stand in the finish area for upwards of 75 U.S. Olympic medal performances? A fascination with ski jumping helps, but that only started after Kelly, at 7 years old, saw alpine racing for the first time. Back in 1960, Kelly didn't know what skiing was....
Full article HERE.
Featured Tom Kelly To Retire from U.S. Ski and Snowboard
Tom's been part of the USSA for a long time. This retirement has been in the works for "quite a while." He's starting a communications and PR firm, and a speakers' bureau. Nice man.
I think that it's interesting that the USSSA is NOT filling the job. Not replacing him. They are going to run with no VP of Communications, and spread whatever his essential work was to others. Encouraging move, in terms of trimming down headcount and payroll, IMO.
That picture is one of few in recent years without his wide brimmed hat. Best to him.ScotsSkier likes this.
It was a very good question, @Tricia.
Tom is a nice guy, and nobody will say otherwise. It was time to move on and retire. He's quite old school. You can see it in that response. As soon as TIger hired his "Commercial Officer", I sense that everything to do with marketing, PR, communications etc. came under review. Changes needed. Still needed, I think.
And in terms of the funding gap. One Tom, considering his total compensation, pays for the billed "ticket" for 4-5 athletes. I would hope that there is some thinking along those lines, but I doubt it.
The guy cared, and loves the sport so much. I think there's a reason why he is not being replaced, though. His world has evolved a ton.
BTW, the USSSA has been all over trying to raise money for the Bob Beattie endowment since he passed. The interesting thing is that Bob never wanted his name on it, and had real issues with the USST. Quite critical til the end, I hear. Felt this funding gap was shameful and should have be fixed decades ago. Before passing he requested that memorial donations be made to Aspen Supports Kids....and not the USST. But the USSSA/USST has been fairly aggressive.
Back to your question. If CLIF ramps this up, it bears watching. Closely. I think we may see more "teams", and growing numbers.
Having Tom in his hat and loden jacket trying to explain the funding gap was kind of sad. He was a master at the personal human interest story stuff. That was his deal. Just like you, we don't have unlimited money was his way of responding.
I wish him well. I think he is going to be very surprised at how the clubs who could possibly afford to bring him on as a consultant actually handle marketing and communication these days, and the level of current knowledge in house, and on the boards. It's a different world.
And they are struggling to balance a lot of things. Program fees, coaches, travel. Adding the expense of a communications consultant....tough sell. I think he might be welcomed pro-bono, but that's a different deal.
Good guy. Lots of experience. Hope he enjoys the next chapter!
One reason for Tom to move on is that he just went through a long bout of cancer treatments last year and he decided he wasn't getting any younger. He raves about the Utah Cancer Center for his successful outcome.
In the USSA filings for salaries, Tom was not listed on the 990 indicating he did not make over $100K.
I really admire what he did--deciding that he wanted to work for a specific organization and climbed the ladder and made a position for himself.
US Ski and Snowboard really needs a cohesive direction for marketing and PR. They were more proud that they found someone to do the logo free than realizing they need a complete strategy. I may have missed it, but I didn't hear anything about the US Ski and Snowboard being united and "One Team" during the Olympics. And I don't think I heard anything about that during the WCs either. It didn't seem like they raised much more revenue for the Olympic year. The only major thing I saw was a website overhaul which has enough issues of its own.
Funny you say that about writing a book--I've asked him that, but didn't get a response.
I didn't even realize that the website plagiarized Wikipedia. I just know that when they were looking for feedback, I sent a bunch of errors and problems with loading of large images and every one was ignored.