Dec 14, 2019

Changing of the Guard at the USEA Annual Meeting of Members

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
The Annual Meeting of Members. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

For 60 years the members of the USEA have been coming together to discuss the business of the Association and make important decisions to keep the sport of eventing thriving in America. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention has turned into four days full of meetings and more, but the Annual Meeting remains the backbone. This year’s Annual Meeting was called to order by USEA President, Carol Kozlowski who introduced Tink Eichell, secretary of the USEA. Eichell established a quorum was present and there was a vote to approve the minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting of Members.

Eichell then turned the meeting over to Kozlowski who delivered her final report as USEA President. Kozlowski started on the USEA Board and Executive Committee in 2007 as Vice President of Safety and over the last 12 years has been a huge force in the Association.

Carol Kozlowski giving her last address as USEA President. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

As she herself is from Area I, Kozlowski was pleased that her final meeting as President as well as the USEA’s 60th anniversary is being held in Boston. “The USCTA was born here in Boston 60 years ago. Like the Pilgrims, the early eventers were tough, and we like to think we carry on that tradition of hardiness and determination here in Area I. Some of us defect to southern climes for a bit in the winter when the going gets tough, but please don’t assume that makes us any less fond of our roots. And look at our amazing record, once again, of USEA meeting attendance here! The largest pre-registration ever, thanks to my fellow New Englanders,” she said.

After taking the time thank CEO Rob Burk for being her “genie in the bottle, anchor, and friend,” as well as the members of the staff and gave some highlights of 2019 including the success of the Pan American Games and the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds.

Kozlowski’s passion has always been with keeping the sport safer and called out the continuing work the USEA is doing with EquiRatings as well as the creation of cross-country schooling guidelines.

“During my tenure with the USEA, from my early V.P. of Safety days back in 2007 until this year, I feel as if we’ve made so many positive and measurable moves in the right direction, keeping our riders and our horses safer and protecting the integrity of our sport,” Kozlowski continued in her speech. “With all vested parties as stakeholders, the riders, the owners, the organizers, the volunteers, the course designers, and the officials, we collaboratively move forward with each individual accepting their share of the responsibility for making the best decisions possible. As we are human and we are partnered with animals, it is inevitable that mistakes will be made, and the knowledge gained from those mistakes empowers us to constantly improve. Our best efforts combine to produce a sport that will continue to adapt and to thrive. Everyone here in this room is present because of their fervent belief that we do something very special with our equine partners. We all want to be a part of its legacy into the future.”

And at the conclusion of her speech, Kozlowski shared her best wishes to the next President Max Corcoran and left her with a good luck token.

Following her speech Morley Thompson, Jr. gave his treasurer’s report which said, “I am proud to say that we got the ship back on course.” There was a major improvement due to increased revenues and expense control. Total revenue was $4,284,554 (up 3.6 percent from the prior year), our expenses were $4,331,620 (up 0.5 percent), giving our net operating income a total of $52,934. The 2019 USEA Financials can be found here.

Darrin Mollett, chair of the Legal Committees then explained the voting procedures for the USEA including the proxies which were mailed to all members and the in-person voting. Following the voting a motion was made to ratify the actions of the Board for the year.

Voting at the Annual Meeting of Members. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Burk then gave his CEO Report which highlighted the highs and lows of the year. He also announced the exciting news that Dutta will be providing a free flight for the winner of the Holekamp/Turner Le Lion d’Angers Grant.

Updates from Burk included:

  • A thank you to USEA Staff which includes 17 full time employees. Four employees are hitting big milestones this year. Sharon Gallagher and Jennifer Hardwick are both celebrating 25 years with the USEA, and Jason Caldwell and Nancy Knight are at 20 years.
  • Member numbers reached 12,678 this year.
  • We had over 6,500,000 website views and over 540,000 unique page views during the AEC. The USEA published over 800 articles between www.useventing.com and Eventing USA.
  • The USEA hit 90,000 Facebook likes and 50,000 Instagram followers.
  • The AEC was the largest eventing competition by starters in North American history with over 1,000 entries and 924 starters across 23 divisions. A record 53 teams participated in the Adult Team Challenge.
  • There were record starter numbers at the USEA Intercollegiate Championships.
  • A record 3,089 volunteers logged 46,066 volunteer hours, and 165 events participated on EventingVolunteers.com.
  • It was a banner year for Xentry usage and we added electronic Signature for Xentry
  • Jockey Club Technology Services began work on the Event Management System
  • Enhanced Pre-Check Reporting to include improved USEF ID matching, SafeSport Status, and detailed qualifications.
  • The USEA has certified 140 Safety Coordinators to date and agreed to take over the USEF Frangible Program.
  • The Equine Cardiovascular Study was concluded (pending published results).
  • 130 officials participated in training or exams.

Burk thanked Kozlowski for a wonderful three years of service and then paid toast to the members and horses that we lost this year.

Several outgoing volunteers were honored by Kozlowski and presented with gifts of appreciation including: USEA Foundation Trustees Dr. Mark Hart and Jacqueline Mars as well as Area X Chair Christine Murphy.

Katherine Cooper was invited to the podium in her role as the Chair of the Nominating Committee and gave her nominating report and introduced the nominees for the Board of Governors.

A standing ovation for Carol Kozlowski, outgoing USEA President. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Brian Murray and John Marshall were both elected as at-large governors for three-year terms. Several governors were re-elected for additional three-year terms including: Morgan Rowsell (Area II), Alice Sarno (Area X), Max Corcoran (At-Large), Dr. Jennifer Miller (At-Large), and Jerry Schurink (At-Large). Jonathan Elliott is also transitioning over to become the representative of Area VII for the remainder of his term.

Three trustees were elected to the USEA Foundation for three-year terms including: Darrin Mollett, Carol Kozlowski, and Diane Pitts.

The Board of Governors then took a brief recess when they elected the slate of officers and the Trustees of the USEA Foundation nominated by the nominating committee.

The slate was presented by new USEA President, Max Corcoran as:

  • Tink Eichell: Secretary
  • Morley Thompson, Jr.: Treasurer/ V.P. Administration and Finance
  • Mary Coldren: V.P. Safety
  • Doug Payne: V.P. Active Athletes
  • Jonathan Elliott: V.P. Competitions
  • Debra Dealcuaz: V.P. Area Affairs
  • Dawn Robbins: V.P. Membership & Program Development
  • Jerry Schurink: V.P. Education

As new USEA President Corcoran lead the appreciation of outgoing Governor Janis Linnan and President Carol Kozlowski. “She leaves us with a void I hope I will be able to fill. A thank you is just not enough. I am extremely excited about these years ahead,” said Corcoran.

The keynote panel included Jim Wofford, Max Corcoran, and Woodge Fulton. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

After the meeting was adjourned, Corcoran invited Jim Wolf to the podium to introduce our keynote panel. The panel consisted of Jim Wofford, Savannah Fulton, and Corcoran who spoke about the past, present, and future of the sport. Wofford started with a history of eventing – dividing the sport into eras – military, fox hunting, professional, and technician. Corcoran then talked about the current sport health of the sport, with Fulton giving the final speech with a passionate plea to keep the sport going strong in the future and not getting away from the tradition of eventing. The audience then had the opportunity to ask questions with the panel answering. When asked “What don’t we want to lose in this sport?” Wofford answered, “The horse. When you look back at the history, this sport has shown an amazing ability to reinvent itself, but we are still eventing.” The full video of the keynote panel will be released in the near future.

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About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, December 12-15, 2019. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

The USEA would like to thank Adequan, Bates, Nutrena, Charles Owen, Standlee Premium Western Forage, SmartPak, Mountain Horse, Parker Equine Insurance, Rebecca Farm, Auburn Laboratories, Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Nunn Finer, World Equestrian Brands, Gallops Saddlery, Revitavet, Hylofit, and Tryon International Equestrian Center for sponsoring the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

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