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2020 Election for the Board of Directors of the ACCT

Candidates elected by the Individual and B2C/B2B members


 

Voting procedures for position elected by the Individual and B2B/B2C Members

Voting for this position will be conducted online prior to the ACCT Annual Conference. Current ACCT individual and organizational members may cast ONE vote. Voting will be available from December 11, 2019 until January 11, 2020. VOTE NOW!

 

Diego Alvarez, Chukka Adventure Tours

Brief Work History:

I have designed and constructed the Zipline course for both Chukka Belize and Jamaica.  Additionally, I have been working on implementing the use of ACCT standards throughout  all countries Chukka operates in.

ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

Member of Zipline Standards High Risk Committee with Belize Tourism Board 

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

Having worked in the field for 15 years, I have acquired many skills both oral and physical, including but not limited to, designing and building of zip lines, trainer, creating and follow up of standard, etc. This, and many more, has given me all the experience I have to date and to being the chairman of safety standards for all three countries.

Position Statement:

Training over all guides and SO's should be properly trained in safety procedures and rescue. 
It seems as though it is something that hasn't been enforced well enough. This later results in accidents and or even death.


 

Bahman Azarm, Outdoor Venture Group, LLC

Brief Work History:

President of Outdoor Ventures since 2008. Owner of 8 aerial adventure parks. Has designed, built & trained over 25 aerial parks since 2008. Established the first Swiss Style aerial adventure park in the U.S. Vice chair of ACCT Board of Directors 2017- 2020.   

ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

Currently serves as Vice Chairman, Board of Directors from 2017-2020. Previous  experience: founding committee member of the ACCT Aerial Park Operations Task  Force. Initial member of ACCT International Committee. Committee member of the Accreditation Task Force for a brief time.

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

After living in both Europe and the U.S. for many years, Bahman has become well acquainted with both the U.S. and the European Aerial Park Industries.  As a certified construction professional and President of a construction company for over 25yrs, he has gained valuable experience with various aspects of the industry such as safety, permitting, design, best practices, etc.  Bahman has served on numerous boards and was president of Remodeling Contractors Association and Connecticut Chapter of National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI). A board member of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), as well as numerous other boards.

Position Statement:

Bahman is passionate about introducing as many people to outdoor climbing in the safest manner possible.  He believes that improving safety on both the operational side, as well as the equipment side, is paramount to building public confidence in this rapidly growing industry, and without it, the activity and our association may suffer.  With it, hopefully more and more people will want to connect to the outdoors and gain a fun and valuable experience that will make them want to do more and more of it throughout the country.



 

Brandon Bland, BRIDGES USA

Brief Work History:

I have been in the Adventure education industry for the last 16 years, 7 of which have  been full time.  My Master's is degree is in Adventure Education.

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

My strengths are in program development and technical skills.  I enjoy finding  weaknesses in systems and coming up with strategies for improvement.

Position Statement:

I have a passion for bringing people to a more universal mindset that will make challenge courses and all programming as inclusive as possible.





Bryan Millea, Go Ape

Brief Work History:

My industry work history began in 2010 when we opened our forest doors in the US.  I  operated our first course for 2 years before dedicating my efforts to developing internal  systems for the roll out of additional courses.  I’ve benefited from visiting various  operations within the industry, both in the states as well as in Europe. This has been  useful in a variety of ways including exposure to various operating systems. For the past  two years I’ve served as the Operations Director at Go Ape, overseeing training, staffing,  guest service, product development and budget management for all of our sites.  

ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

I have no ACCT committee involvement to this point; however, I’m excited to change  that. While at Go Ape I have participated in various stewardship projects including: park and community clean ups, tree planting, and invasive plant removal. Our organization supports various volunteer activities and as Operations Director, I encourage our site staff to get involved with our park and other local partners on various stewardship projects.

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

What I bring to the board involves the experience gained over the past 10 years leading and developing the overall operation for a growing organization, from 1 course to 14, in 13 different states.  Developing and managing policies and procedures for remote management of multiple courses with varying park partners is part of the experience I would bring with me to the board.  

Position Statement:

Communication between the organization, sub-committees and members on what is new and changing and how it affects each member’s operation is a topic that interests me. I’m also interested in the accreditation review process for operations. It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, I’m passionate about mitigating risk and maintaining a high safety integrity, from an individual organization perspective but also for the greater industry. 


 

Michael RichardsonMomentum Engineering, LLC

Brief Work History:

In 1989, I began working in the amusement ride industry, building roller coaster track  systems. I excelled in track manufacturing and design. Just over five years later, I  founded AA Machining and Welding, Inc. After many years in this field, in 2000, Park City   Mountain Resort (PCMR) a ski resort in Utah. PCMR asked my company to design a   passive braking zipline trolley and built large towers for the 2002 Olympics. In 2009, I  teamed up with city planners and professional engineers to design, build, provide  employee training, as an owner-operator of a commercial zipline. Since then, I have  become an active member of multiple associations and committees, including: 
 
A voting and committee member with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM Committee F24 Amusement Rides and Devices) - An ASTM F24.61 AAC Task Group member F2959 Aerial Adventure Courses: ziplines, rope courses, aerial trekking, canopy tours, climbing walls 
A voting and committee member ASTM Committee F15 Consumer Products for example juvenile products, toys, playground equipment and pool safety 
A member of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ANSI/ACCT) 
A member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 
A board member of the American National Standards Institute/Professional Ropes Course Association (ANSI/PRCA) 
A member of National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) 
Certified welder with American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 

ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

In 2017-18 I was nominated to a board member with the American National Standards Institute/Professional Ropes Course Association (ANSI/PRCA) 

I am a voting and committee member with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM Committee F24 Amusement Rides and Devices) and an ASTM F24.61 AAC Task Group member F2959 Aerial Adventure Courses: ziplines, rope courses, aerial trekking, canopy tours, climbing walls 

I am a voting and committee member ASTM Committee F15 Consumer Products, for example, juvenile products, toys, playground equipment, and pool safety 

I was a National Board Certified welder with American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) through the NBIC

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

I am an expert witness and certified 3rd party trainer. I am an engineer, machinist, and certified welder

Position Statement:

Adding my experience and training to keep owners, staff, and patrons safe.

My company's motto:
"Safety is NO Accident" 


 

 Michael Smith, AdventureSmith, Inc. & ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, LLC

Brief Work History:

25 years of challenge course facilitation, training, program management with 20 years of  vended design, installation, inspection and business development experience.  Currently  operate a zip line canopy tour, aerial adventure park, and adventure-based training  facility in Vermont and vend business and risk management consulting, course  inspections, and staff training..

 

ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

Canopy Tour Task Force, Member (2005-07)
Marketing Committee, Chair (2011)
ACCT Board of Directors, Member (2014-17)
Accreditation & Certification Committee, Member (2019-present)

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

> Broad knowledge of the aerial adventure park and traditional challenge course market from the perspective of an operator, vendor, and expert witness assisting with litigation matters;
> Familiarity with ACCT Certification and Accreditation Programs
> Experience serving on association boards including 3 years on the ACCT Board

Position Statement:

I am an passionate about effective adventure programming, the value of wild places, and the power that well-crafted adventure programs can have on individuals, small groups, and communities.  I am deeply concerned about the risks posed to the industry by inconsistent regulation, increased litigation, rising insurance costs, and growing labor shortages.  I am outspoken, hard-working, and committed to helping ACCT Accreditation and Certification Programs, as well as, ACCT Academy expand as a means to combat many of these risks and concerns.  





VOTE NOW For the General Board of Directors seat! 




Candidates elected by the Professional Vendor Members (PVM’s)


 

Voting procedures for positions elected by the Professional Vendor Members (PVM’s)

Elections for these two open seats will be held IN PERSON at the ACCT Annual Conference using a paper ballot during the Annual General Meeting on Friday, February 7, 2020.  Election results will be announced at the conference at the end of the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

 

Keith Jacobs, Experiential Systems, Inc.

Brief Work History:

I have worked in the challenge course industry for over 25 years, starting first in  programming, then into operations management and for the past 17 years as the owner  of Experiential Systems providing design, installation, inspection equipment sales and  staff training services. Most of my time is currently spent in overseeing company vision,  organizational management; supervision of leadership team and overseeing commercial  installations.

 ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

I have previously served on: The Conference Committee; The Symposium Planning Committee; The Board of Directors; Inspector Certification; Government Relations, Insurance Advisory Group, and the Aerial Adventure Park Task Force. I am currently serving as Vice Chair of the Standards Management Committee and the ANSI Consensus Group. Through these roles I have additionally served in the capacity of working on several appeals through ANSI regarding the ACCT Standards with ANSII have previously also been very active with ASTM 2959 (and am still occasionally active with the group today); and serve as an editor of Adventure Park Insider. 

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

I think the special skill I bring is 5 years of previous experience as an ACCT Board Member and over 15 years of experience in a variety of committees and Tasks Forces within the association. 

Position Statement:

I at this time see several key issues facing our association that require continued, renewed or initiated work. These areas include but are not limited to: 
1. Insurance for the industry (not just vendors). I have serious concerns regarding the current insurance options in the marketplace and the rising cost associated with the existing programs for our members. I have long since believed that our association needs a managed insurance policy like other trade and membership organizations offer and not the current model where the policy is managed only by the marketplace. 
2. Accreditation services. I have concerns regarding the pausing, and re-drafting of the current vendor accreditation program. I am further concerned about how and when this significant change was presented to the PVM body.  Accreditation is and should be a cornerstone of quality and commitment to ACCT standards, and appropriate systems and reviews should be maintained to ensure these practices. Best practices for accreditation in the marketplace as well as ISO standards require a physical site visit, and the confidential maintenance of company records. Recent recommendations regarding this program would put ACCT out of line with other industry practices for Accreditation and thus damage the reputation, quality and value of the program, and put accredited vendors confidential and potentially proprietary company information at risk. While changes to the program may be necessary, they should occur without a loss in quality and/or an increase in risk exposure to the participating vendors.
3. Membership Pool: As a result of increasing regulation and increased insurance premiums I believe ACCT will continue to loose key PVM members, and with it their volunteer energy, and the revenue they bring to the association with dues, conference registration, advertising, exhibiting, etc.  ACCT needs to move to adjust its accreditation program for Inspection only companies, and accredited manufacturers. Many vendors will be moving to Inspection and training only and should be able to maintain, or re-apply for a limited scope of accreditation. Further accreditation should also be made available for manufacturers, and others who wish to pay for this service. 
4. ANSI/ACCT Standards Maintenance and Development: The ACCT Standards have been and currently are the cornerstone of the association. A constant priority of the Association should be maintaining a robust open and transparent process to develop and publish standards that are accessible to all throughout every step of the process. Developing standards is however only one component. ACCT must also continue to promote the standards to the public and regulators as well as provide education on the published standard as well as anticipated changes to the standard during its development. 



 

Carson RiversChallenge Towers, Inc

Brief Work History:

Carson has developed an extensive resume working in the industry for over 20 years.  Over his career, he has worked for a wide variety of organizations including, but not  limited to, camps, conference centers, non-profits, outdoor education centers,  universities, and businesses.  He has extensive experience working within both the  educational and commercial facets of our industry.  He holds a Bachelor's Degree in  Recreation Management and a Master's Degree in Outdoor Program Administration.

 

ACCT Committee Involvement and Other Volunteer Experience:

Carson has been involved extensively within the leadership of ACCT for many years.  He has served on a variety of committees and task forces supporting both standards development and credentialing programs.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors and is seeking Re-Election for another three year term.

Skills or Experience I Bring to the Board:

Carson brings a wealth of experience from a broad perspective, a demonstrated track record of strong leadership, good communication skills, and a solid understanding of financial and risk management issues facing the association.

Position Statement:

Carson believes that as the industry continues to grow in size, there is a vital need for increased professionalism in all areas of our Association.  We will need continued improvement within our standards development process, credentialing programs, government relations efforts, and education opportunities.  He also believes we are at a critical point in the trajectory of our Association that will require well informed leadership to navigate over the coming years.  It has been an honor for him to serve the Association though his position on the Board of Directors over the past three years and hopes that he will have the opportunity to continue to serve for another term.


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