4.9.10 | Eichler, Griffith, Easton, Summers Elected to Executive Committee
New Ulm, Minn. — Michele Eichler, CEO of Muzzy Products Corp., was elected Chair of the 2010 ATA Executive Committee in late March by the association's 16-member Board of Directors. Eichler is the Board's longest-serving director and the first woman elected as its Chair. She served as an ATA vice-chair in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009-2010.
In addition, Greg Easton, president of Jas. D. Easton, won a vice-chair seat on the Executive Committee. And in an unprecedented vote, two candidates tied for the remaining vice-chair seat: Larry Griffith, president of the Bohning Co.; and Ben Summers, director of operations for T.R.U. Ball Release Products.
A review of ATA bylaws found the Committee can have "two or more" vice-chairs, so ATA CEO/President Jay McAninch proposed seating three vice-chairs to capitalize on Griffith and Summers' willingness to serve. The Board approved the recommendation on a follow-up ballot late last week.
"Even without adding the third vice-chair for 2010, this is possibly the most experienced Executive Committee the ATA has had during my 10 years with ATA," McAninch said. "The tie for the second vice-chair seat is highly unusual, but it's a unique opportunity for ATA to benefit from two highly qualified statesmen like Ben and Larry."
Griffith served as Chair the past year, while Eichler and Easton served as vice-chairs. Griffith said he enjoyed his time as Chair, but thinks it's important to rotate the post each year to promote fresh ideas.
Eichler felt privileged to be elected Chair. "I'm very flattered," she said. "It's a humbling, amazing feeling to be entrusted with this responsibility by the rest of the Board. This is a great group of people with a diverse range of experience. Our manufacturers represent companies large and small from across the industry, and our members from the Dealers' Council provide great perspectives from retailers. They're all well-grounded people who can look at the big picture, put individual interests aside, and do what's right for the entire industry."
During the year ahead, Eichler wants the ATA and the Board to work on a new long-range plan for the industry. "When Jay came on board in 2000, he worked on a plan that took us far," she said. "We have many great programs up and running, but we can't lock onto the present. We have to anticipate our next big challenges, and decide how we'll keep growing the next five to 10 years. That means ensuring ATA's funding sources, and forging new partnerships so we can capitalize on alliances with wildlife agencies. We also must keep pushing NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program), Explore Bowhunting and the Community Archery Strategy."
As a vice-chair, Griffith plans to continue pushing to improve communications between ATA staff, the Board and ATA members. "The ATA has a lot going on around the country, and it's deeply invested financially in a lot of great programs to grow archery," Griffith said. "The more the ATA invests in schools, state agencies and community-based programs, the more accountable we must be to our membership."
Easton said he's ready for another year of ATA work. "There's some great opportunities ahead for the ATA and archery," he said. "A lot of good things are going on, and the ATA is right in the middle of them. Everyone's pulling in one direction, whether it's NASP, the Community Archery Strategy or the Easton Sports Development Foundation. When I look at the other Board members, I see no inclination by anyone to act for their own benefit. We're seeing great cooperation everywhere, even in programs that operate independently of each other."
For Summers, this is his first election to the Executive Committee. "This is a great honor," he said. "I want to help wherever I can. One thing I'd like to do is put some of the training from my MBA (masters of business administration) program to work. I did a lot of work on managing and budgeting for nonprofit organizations."
Summers said he also wants to ensure the ATA Trade Show remains successful. "The Trade Show is just about as great as it can be, but we're always looking for ways to make it better and stronger," he said.
Eichler said she never tires of her work on the ATA Board because every meeting is a learning experience. "It's easy to think you've considered everything, but then you hear another Board member's perspective and you realize you've never thought of it that way," she said. "So, while I think I'm contributing to the Board's work, I know I'm also benefiting from every meeting I attend. That's a dynamic that just keeps growing every year."
Did You Know?
The ATA estimates that as of 2004, 36 percent of archery sales were for bows, $192 million; for arrows, $100 million for arrows, $88 million for accessories, $37 million for crossbows and $35 million for broad heads.