The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is pleased to announce its new board of directors, which includes seven new appointees and three returning board members. Prodigy Search, a national leader in executive recruitment, helped to lead the search process for the board member positions. The 10-member board of directors is made up of five at-large directors, two independent directors, two goalball athlete directors and one constituent director.
The at-large board directors are as follows: Chair Mark Ackermann (Freehold, N.J.), Vice-Chair Dr. Skye Arthur-Banning (Pendleton, S.C.), Treasurer Gary Remensnyder (St. Augustine, Fla.), Secretary Amy Wasson (Camarillo, Calif.) and David Cohen (Aliso Viejo, Calif.). Remensnyder and Wasson are returning members of the board of directors.
Ackermann brings more than 40 years of non-profit management to his position as board chair. He is currently the president and CEO of the Catholic Community Foundation of Long Island. Before that, Ackermann was the president and CEO of Lighthouse International in New York City. After merging his organization, he became president and COO of Lighthouse Guild International, a not-for-profit corporation with programs and services for the blind and visually impaired.
Arthur-Banning is an associate professor at Clemson University where he teaches within the community recreation, sport and camp management emphasis area. He remains active in the field by hosting many camps for injured military veterans to showcase both blind soccer and CP soccer, as well as presenting at various venues around the world on adaptive sport. As head of officials for the International Federation of CP Football (IFCPF), he has officiated in numerous international tournaments, most notably as a referee at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Remensnyder is a retired business executive who has served on the USABA board for two terms. He worked for a publicly held sporting goods conglomerate before co-founding Lew’s Fishing, a fishing tackle business, in 2010. He retired in 2018.
Wasson is the product management director for vision at Anthem where she has worked for 15 years. She was introduced to USABA through its partnership with Anthem and has attended many USABA events over the years. Wasson remains passionate about supporting the organization’s mission of empowering blind athletes, changing lives, and inspiring a nation.
Cohen is general counsel of Tempus Ex Machina, a sports tech startup based in San Francisco, Calif. He is also the founder and CEO of Major League Business, a sports and startup consulting company. Prior to his current roles, Cohen worked as head of player operations for the Alliance of American Football, oversaw legal, security and other administrative functions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the lead lawyer for Angels Baseball, and served as an athletic trainer for the Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox.
The two independent directors, who are both new to the USABA board, are Eve Wright Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) and Brian Eaton (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
Wright Taylor is a business executive and legal advisor with specialized experience in professional sports/entertainment, brand/retail, venue/event operations and the tech industries. She serves as a board director for USA Track & Field where she was the former Audit Committee chair and Investment Committee chair. She previously served as senior vice president of Unscripted, a global media tech company that hired her to build business infrastructure and U.S. business operations and to lead U.S. strategic partnerships and content acquisition initiatives.
Eaton is the director of global sponsorships at Cisco where he leads the sports and entertainment marketing and brand strategy. Eaton’s introduction to USABA came in 1994 when as an intern at the Olympic Training Center, he was recruited to manage media relations around the Goalball World Championships in Colorado Springs.
Matt Simpson (Charlottesville, Va.) and Calahan Young (Fort Wayne, Ind.) serve as the goalball athlete directors.
A returning member of the USABA board, Simpson won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and also has a bronze medal from the 2014 Goalball World Championships. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law earlier this year and joined The Becket Fund in Washington, D.C., as a legal fellow in August. Simpson also serves on the Athlete Advisory Council for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Young has been involved with USABA since 2009 when he attended his first youth national championship for goalball. He is currently in graduate school at George Mason University pursuing a degree in healthcare administration. Young has been training with the U.S. men’s goalball team since the age of 15. He moved to Fort Wayne in 2017 to join the goalball residency program and complete his recreational therapy internship at the Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities.
The constituent director on the board is Jennifer Demby (Wharton, N.J.). She is the co-founder and director of sports for Blind Athletes, Inc., a non-profit sports club based in central New Jersey focused on creating transformative opportunities and enabling the pursuit of excellence for vision-impaired athletes. A 1996 Olympian in the sport of team handball, Demby is also a certified USA Track and Field Level 1 coach.
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. The mission of USABA is to empower Americans who are blind or visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation, and physical activities, thereby educating and inspiring the nation. www.usaba.org/
Learn more about USABA’s newly appointed board of directors:
Mark Ackermann, Chair (Freehold, N.J.) – President and CEO at The Catholic Foundation of Long Island, – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-ackermann-9a860943/
Dr. Skye Arthur-Banning, Vice-Chair (Pendleton, S.C.) – Associate Professor, Clemson University – https://www.linkedin.com/in/skye-arthur-banning-30703428/
Gary Remensnyder, Treasurer (St. Augustine, Fla.) – Retired President, Lew’s Fishing – https://www.linkedin.com/in/gremensnyder/
Amy Wasson, Secretary (Camarillo, Calif.) – National Product Director (Vision), Anthem, Inc. – https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-wasson-901b439/
David Cohen (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) – Founder, Major League Business LLC – https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidcohenesq/
Eve Wright Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) – Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs & U.S. Sports Marketing at Unscriptd – https://www.linkedin.com/in/eve-wright-taylor-883a514/
Brian Eaton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Director of Global Sponsorships, Cisco – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-d-eaton/
Matt Simpson (Charlottesville, Va.) – Paralympic Athlete, Goalball – https://www.teamusa.org/para-goalball/athletes/Matt-Simpson
Calahan Young (Fort Wayne, Ind.) – Paralympic Hopeful, Goalball – https://www.teamusa.org/para-goalball/athletes/Calahan-Young
Jennifer Demby (Wharton, N.J.) – Director of Sports, Blind Athletes, Inc. – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-demby-691728109/