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Ask the Candidates

The NBUA Election is set. This year, we have 8 Candidates who have offered to step up & serve our great organization.  They are competing for 5 open positions on the Board of Directors. Their Candidate Statements are contained in the previous post. We are soliciting questions for the candidates and ask that you send them to the election committee.

The election committee is composed of Vernon Dahl, Don Warfield, Mark Snyder, and Mark Clough. You should have received an e-mail concerning this topic and to submit your questions properly and anonymously, you should use that e-mail and Reply to All. If you have not received an e-mail, then please contact any one of the committee members.

2020 BOD Candidates

Christopher Castro

Greetings fellow members,

I am an NBUA rookie and based upon the number of games I have worked this year, I expect to be a rookie next year as well. I recognize that a great number of members are employed and do not have a large amount of free time to dedicate to the NBUA Board. However, as a retiree, I have an abundance of personal free time to offer in service to our association. I do not have any specific job aspirations; I will simply be of service where needed. My background is diverse enough that I can adapt to any role.

Background:

Career Naval Aviator, F/A-18 Pilot, TOPGUN Graduate, Commander / O-5, 22 years of service in the U.S. Navy’s Enlisted and Officer ranks. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Proven strategist, leader, and manager shaped through a large variety of job assignments and the intense pressure of three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Qualifications:

M.A. Sports Administration and Leadership (Sport focused MBA), B.S. Aviation Management. FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)/Instrument Instructor (CFII)/Ground School Instructor (IGI). 11 years of training officer/instructor experience, 8 years leading Operations, 6 years managing 350 + personnel, $20M budget execution experience, Certificate in Acquisition, and 3 years’ experience in African multi-national partnering, planning, negotiation, and training.

Little League Veteran: League President (twice) Lemoore, California and Naples, Italy. Manager, Umpire, District Umpire-in-Chief, and Mentor.

Umpired three divisions (L.L./Jr./Sr.) at the Little League Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Regional Championships in Kutno, Poland and Novara, Italy. Umpired the American High Schools in Europe Championships at Ramstein, Germany.

Registered to attend the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy in Jan. 2021.

I look forward to getting to know more of our membership and being of service to you.

Kind Regards,

Chris

Peyton Coffin

Fellow Umpires.

After 16 years, I’ve decided to ask you to elect me to serve you as a member of your Board of Directors. I have been a member of five officiating associations and that, coupled with my business experience, qualifies me to be one of your representatives. Some of my business experience: Owned/operated restaurants; Owned an advertising/public relations business; Account Director for an international public relations firm; Assistant Director of the Singapore National Parks Board; Project Director for the electrical subcontractor that installed systems in the Seahawks Exhibition Center; Built houses in Seattle, and; Umpire and Referee in three sports.

Many of you know me as the guy who likes to be light-hearted at the cars but knows and knows how to apply the rules on the field, or as the behind-the-scenes guy who listens to your concerns/complaints and brings them up to the appropriate board member and who calls you before our elections and encourages you to vote for others. I’m finally asking you to vote for me.

I’m the guy who printed and paid for that batch of recruitment cards. You know me as one of your trainers in the classroom, on the field and in the cages and as the guy who makes sure all new umpires have an indicator to be familiar with. You also know me as … the Pizza Guy!

The point is, whether you know me from many years past or more recent years, you know my record: I’ve volunteered in many ways to serve you and will continue to support my partners and our association.

We face a challenging time. No newly generated 2020 income and a purposeful administration and management of COVID-protocol games will demand action. Association-wide protocols will have to be implemented safely, authoritatively, yet respectfully. Assessment and evaluation procedures should be examined for their appropriateness considering the circumstances, especially as they affect newer umpires.

Newer umpires deserve special consideration because they’ve lost a year of experience to apply their training. Our newer umpires, especially, should vote their support for me as someone who has and will listen to their concerns. You know me — and you are our future.

Recruitment: Last year, I attended, at my expense, the NASO Summit/Spokane. I buttonholed the Managing Editor/Director Referee/NASO and proposed writing a recruiting/informational article in the largest US circulation magazine: AARP. Full support from NASO/Referee but it bogged down in AARP’s machinery. With national focus, I’m going behind the scenes again and putting him, the Executive Director, NFHS, the CEO, AARP, etc. all together via letters and contacts so they can get their butts in gear and encourage AARP’s members to stay healthy and active. Most 50+ year-olds played sports in school/coached/umpired their Little League kids. Now those kids are out of the house. Mom and dad should continue their involvement in sports. I know it’ll work!

These ideas and actions will not cease.

Vote for me to serve you on your Board … and I’ll deliver more than pizza!

Lane Loland

                Greetings to all NBUA members, and I would like to thank you for considering me for a Board of Directors position. Before anything else, I would like to acknowledge the presumptuous nature of my candidacy. I am fully aware that I have not “earned” any position of responsibility with my mere 100+ games of work as an umpire. Nonetheless, I would love the opportunity to increase my involvement with the NBUA and to help promote the interests of our organization.

            I came to umpiring after retiring from other endeavors. Retirement has given me time for greater involvement, and my work history (a short jaunt as a lawyer followed by a 32-year high school teaching career) helped me to develop and refine a few attributes that I feel will help me to be successful in our efforts to augment the strength of the NBUA. First, I believe I am very good in working with people. I listen well and my interactions are very non-judgmental. Further, my stoic nature allows me to deal with situations with an unemotional detachment. I have no ax to grind and no agenda to pursue. In addition, I show some proficiency at creative problem solving and I willingly take on difficult issues to find outcomes that are best for all involved. I look forward to using my skills and temperament as we figure out how to move forward in donning our black hats in a Covid world.

            When we do return to work, service is the entire focus of a position on the Board of Directors. I will continually advocate for increased game pay (and potentially ancillary compensation) for our hard-working members. I would also like for our organization to seek out enhanced recognition for our efforts as we strive to polish the image of umpires within baseball, and in the larger community. I smile whenever I see pictures of NBUA umpires in Referee magazine, and I would support an effort to promote our work with local print and electronic media. Finally, I would advocate for more frequent, informal evaluations for our C-Tier and Apprentice umpires. My proposal would be for voluntary observations and feedback by experienced members who might receive game credit (akin to a game worked) for watching and giving feedback to our newer members.

            The absence of a 2020 season has been horrendous for all of us in the middle of a nightmarish national trauma. As a possible silver-lining, however, I truly hope that this is an instance of “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Ideally, the time to reflect has left all of us with a renewed appreciation of how much we enjoy being on the field and part of the game. I love umpiring and I take great pride in being member of the NBUA. While I am anxious to continue to work and grow as an umpire, simultaneously I would appreciate the opportunity to expand my role with the NBUA through a seat on the Board of Directors.

Thank you.

Hank Margeson-Incumbent

I am continually honored to serve this fine association as a member of the Board of Directors, and it is in service of the association that I seek to be honored with an additional 2-year term.  While the past couple of years were a roller coaster ride for some, not getting to umpire (so far) this year has proven that in times of crisis, leadership is paramount.  No one expected that we’d be completely shut out of High School and summer ball games when the year commenced.  And we were so ready to launch our new payment program, ensuring you’re compensated in a timelier manner than ever in the history of the NBUA.  But a virus delayed our plans.  The good news is we will not be deterred and provided we are once again able to safely step onto a baseball field in 2021, this change will be fully implemented.

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the resources of the association, but not to the point of breaking.  We took significant action to reduce our expenditures when it became clear there would be no revenue from the schools.  We also worked closely with our summer customers so that if they were given the green light to launch their seasons there was agreement on finances.  Fortunately, the agreements we made prevented us from having to refund unearned revenues.  Approaching the situation with a clear head and having contingencies was crucial to preventing the association from falling into financial peril.  And most importantly, we can weather the storm and resume normal activities in 2021.

Two years ago I stated the my goals were to professionalize this association at all levels, creatively recruit and train outstanding new umpires, foster a sense of camaraderie to increase our membership, make it easier for members to access their increased earnings, identify and challenge the next generation of NBUA leadership, and elevate the stature of the NBUA in District 2 as well as within the WOA.  As I write this, I believe we’ve made significant progress in each of the areas, notwithstanding our aborted 2020 season.

So, here’s my pitch for the next couple years.  I will continue to focus on moving the association toward a more professional approach to recruiting, training, financing and evaluating.  The goal is to ensure the NBUA is held out as a model officials association within the state and region.  I will continue to urge members to get involved in the operation of the association with the goal of developing the next generation of Directors.  Finally, I pledge to make sound fiscal decisions with the goal of ensuring each member is fairly remunerated for the professional effort they display on (and off) the field.  I will accomplish this during conversations with our summer ball leagues/teams as well as continuing my outspoken advocacy for all officials within the WOA.

I will finish as I started, it is an honor to serve a fine group of umpires.  I would be honored to continue to represent you as a member of the NBUA Board in 2021-2022.

John Moore

Hello,

I’m John Moore, and after 12 years with NBUA, I’m still waiting to meet some of you for the first time and looking forward to it. The previous eight years of LL umpiring helped get me started, and even though I’ve completed my first two years as an “A” tier, I continue to soak up more information and experience from the game, and all of you as well.

If you know me, then you’ll recall I’m a talker–let me use my voice to convey your words, ideas, and complaints (if any ^_^) to the attention of the board.  I cannot remember the ideas and possible changes I have grown as a (data) analyst at my current job for the past 17 years where I have created many types of reports involving health insurance.  While umpiring LL, I served as the UIC and President for two years, and was involved with the creation of North Lake LL.  We had to write Williamsport for permission to retire our two (declining) smaller leagues into one, and it took a team of us to make it happen.

My wife and our son have supported me since I umpired my first game back in 1997, when I also coached the “Velociraptors” (we just loved that name–the players came up with it).  My son played ball through LL and it was quite the ordeal when I had to punch him out on a called third strike for “our” first plate appearance.  We joined a Bothell PONY team when he reached Junior High, however, due to a back injury he was unable to play.  I had already agreed to coach the team, and even though he sat out the majority of the season, I still coached the team that season.  The parents and players all appreciated my dedication to stay on, even though my son would not be playing.  As with those players, I enjoy my involvement for the players and the enjoyment of baseball. My wife still comes out to watch me umpire after these dozen years, and says she will continue to come out.  I think they (and my other family members) enjoy the game a little more since I started umpiring.  It lifts me up.

If you elect me, I’ll do all I can to help the board and our association to maintain our level of quality umpiring and the respect of our customers and baseball in our region.   

Thank you.

Greg Olmstead

Hello,

I have decided to run for the NBUA board in order to give back to the organization.  I’ve been a member over 10 years working over 100 games/ year and serving as a mentor every season.  I played at a fairly high level growing up and continued until age 38, then moving over to coaching both baseball and football.  After my son graduated HS, I saw the need for officials and in 2010 became both a baseball and football official and have worked state playoff games in both sports.  I’ve seen our sport from the perspective of a player, coach, parent, fan and official.

I recently served on the board of directors for the football associate, PNFOA.  Besides taking on the most time-consuming tasks I also brought many ideas to the board for ways to improve the membership.  I decided not to run for re-election last year, in order to give back to the NBUA if elected.

I am an electrical engineer remaining technical throughout my career.  I am the main inventor listed on 3 US patents.  I consider myself an idea person bringing logical, well considered ideas to problems that can sometimes bring out passionate emotions responses in others.  I feel I can bring energy to a discussion and not take it personally if my ideas are not adopted.

There are many tasks a board has to perform – my overriding drive is to retain officials that we have invested our training in.  I will always work to eliminate the frustrations we see at every level of the game and keep positive experiences throughout the season.

Greg Olmstead

Earl Smith-Incumbent

Well, let me say that this has been the easiest year on the board out of the two I have served! But in all seriousness, I hope this finds you and your families healthy. I would like to continue with my involvement with our board for a variety of reasons. I do not think that a board member in their freshman term can be as effective as a tenured member. Trying to involve myself and not make monumental mistakes sums up the first two years. It is obvious now more than ever that we lost a season that would have resulted in too many clients and far too few umpires. As a member of the evaluation staff, I think it is critical to impart evaluation feedback in a manner that helps our membership mature without alienating them in the process. I am maturing as an umpire every year, and hopefully as an evaluations staff member as well. I feel like my strongest contributions to the membership were in the contract and negotiation arenas, and my weakest were in the election process last year. As I stated, I am still maturing, but not afraid to take that step forward when I think I can bring value to a board committee. I have a broader understanding of the Board as a whole, and I have to say a deeper appreciation for this group. They gain clients, schedule and keep us organized, they foster checks and balances, show fiduciary responsibility for and with the association’s money, they recruit and retain umpires, and they keep us in the 21st century from payment methods to member feedback tools. I had such a small understanding of what went on behind the scenes to keep our association the best in the Northwest. The volunteers on this board work hard to make that happen. I hope to serve another two years with the association as a board member and I think I can still bring a value-added attitude to the Association!

Thank you for your consideration. 

Earl Smith 

Henry VonJouanne-Incumbent

I am honored to be considered again for an NBUA Board of Director position.  I have completed one term – two years – as a board member and I am eager to continue serving for another term.  I can genuinely argue that I feel like I want to “finish the job”.  I served as the Training director the past two years; both years, our training programs were profoundly impacted by unforeseen events.  In 2019, the heavy snow forced cancellation of several training events, and of course the COVID19 pandemic abruptly halted our training this year.  Looking forward, if selected to continue as the Training director, I am eager to plan and execute high-quality training programs to completion.

My goal as a Board Member is simple:  to fully and enthusiastically support the NBUA mission.  That is, “We deliver the highest quality service to our customers by umpiring all games to the best of our ability and with fairness to all participants via state of the art training and evaluation and demonstrated examples of inclusion.”  The NBUA has – in my opinion – always separated itself with a strong training program – so I believe our excellence and “highest quality” starts with training.  And I believe the training starts with emphasis on the basics:  superior rules knowledge and superior mechanics knowledge.  Of course, this begins with the formal pre-season classroom, field training, and cage training.  The training extends to the mentorship program and the important and valuable pre-game and post-game discussions.  A strong and comprehensive training emphasis should convince every member that the NBUA strives to support their improvement as an umpire – and their eventual promotion as a result.

What qualifies me to be a Board Member?  First off, I believe the NBUA is an exceptional organization and I am committed to be a strong advocate for our organization.  I maintain my collection of experiences and skills serve me well as a Board member and NBUA advocate.  As a helicopter Instructor Pilot in the U.S. Air Force, I was responsible for developing and teaching the ground-school and flight curriculum.  I learned the age-old truth that instructing is the best way to learn.  As an aerospace engineer, I was expected to develop systems in a systematic manner – driven by facts and data – while also leading with energy and passion.  As a manager, I have penned seven good rules to follow:  1) it is impossible to over-communicate, 2) in all ways, be completely honest and overt in your actions – no agendas, 3) from this day forward, always do the right thing, 4) make mistakes, 5) learn from your mistakes, 6) the most important job you’ll ever have is the job you have now, and 7) sweat the details – really understand the facts – before making a decision.  These rules are not rocket-science – but they have served me very well and I intend to hold myself to these rules if elected to the NBUA Board of Directors.

I believe the NBUA is a great organization – filled with great people.  I am proud of our members and the quality of the product we place on the field.  As an NBUA official, I am proud to know that I walk onto the field with a partner who loves the game, loves to officiate, wants to be there, and wants to improve. 

If elected again to the Board of Directors, I pledge to continue as a strong advocate for the NBUA. 

Thank you for your consideration.

NBUA media tour

Our very own Ted Buehner organized the day (1/22/20) with the goal to get the word out to the greater Seattle community that there is a strong need for sports officials in the area. In addition to Ted and NBUA Recruiting and Retention Committee Chair, Brian Rooney, the WOA Executive Director, Todd Stordahl and WOA President, Dean Corcoran were present. 

The first stop was the radio studio of KIRO-FM/710 ESPN. The group met with Chris Sullivan who interviewed them for approximately 30 minutes for a segment that will air in the near future. Then, they headed to KIRO-TV where Dean and Brian were interviewed separately but will be part of a joint news story that could air as early as tonight. Then they headed to KOMO Radio for a joint interview with all participating. Finally, after lunch, they made our way to KING 5, where again Dean and Brian were interviewed but this time together. That will likely air before the end of the week.

Great job on going above and beyond the usual efforts to recruit and getting the message out to a large audience.

Be on the lookout for the airing of these segments on the TV or radio and take a look at the KIRO news feed ( https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/youth-sports-struggling-with-shortage-officials/HZKP4X6RF5D3JK6QNP5UFOCLO4/ ) and the KING 5 TV segment ( https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyle-buzz/dramatic-decline-in-referees-prompts-statewide-call-to-action/ar-BBZBZbz?ocid=hplocalnews ).

All umpires Training Camp

NBUA will be conducting an umpire training camp on February 8th from 8Am to 4PM at Everett Memorial Field. This will be a one day event meant for umpires with all levels of experience to learn from current Major League Baseball umpires Mike Muchlinski and Tripp Gibson, current Minor League Baseball umpire Jacob Metz, former Minor League Baseball umpire Brian Hertzog and current college level umpires. The training will include indoor instruction, cage training, and field training tailored to your level of experience. Participants will be divided into three groups (beginner, intermediate, expert) in order to provide tailored instruction and to allow everyone to get as many repetitions as possible. This camp will provide training credit for local area associations (NBUA, SCUBA). The cost will be $15 per person, lunch will be provided and attendance will be limited to 120 participants. NBUA Umpires should contact Henry VonJouanne if they plan to attend. vjgang@gmail.com

2020 General Meeting notification

The 2020 NBUA General Meeting will be held January 27th at 7PM at Bellevue Christian High School (1601 98th Ave NE, Bellevue WA 98004). Your Board of Directors will discuss what they’ve been up to since the end of the season and what is planned for the new year. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions.

2019 NBUA Banquet recap

The weather was fantastic, the people were great, and the banquet concluded with a warm and familiar toast from emcee Jay Neff. About 100 members and guests attended the banquet on Saturday evening and were treated to the announcements of promotions and award winners and a rousing tribute to Chuck McQuery.
After 31 years with NBUA, working more than 32,000 innings, seeing more than 1.2 million pitches, officiating with more than 500 different partners, and driving more than 65,000 miles in the Puget Sound area, Chuck has decided to move, full time, to Arizona. A man of great moral character who was there for the right reasons is one way a fellow umpire described him. Chuck, you’ll be greatly missed and NBUA wishes you the best. Come back and work a few games when it is too hot in AZ!
Award winners included Allen Christie (George Eschelman Umpire of the Year), Dave Johnson (Unsung Hero), Lakeside Industries (Jack Miller Customer of the Year), Dale Dolesji from Kennedy Catholic High School (High School Varsity Coach of the Year), Lane Loland (Rookie of the Year), Steve Mueller, Dale Wilson and Tim Stever (C, B, and A Tier Assignor Awards), and Hank Margeson (Brian Gooch Distinguish Service).
The promotions were many and well deserved. To see the list of promotions see the following post. Congratulations to all of the umpires that got promoted and thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving your skills and knowledge of the game.
A special thank you goes out to everyone that helped in making this a memorable and successful evening. Tim Stever for his audio and DJ skills, Jody Clough for the table centerpieces, Jay Neff for his excellent emcee duties, Mark Clough for a lot of things but most importantly putting the evening’s presentation together, Sondra Stever for helping set up and clean up the room, Leslie Fitzpatrick for organizing the golf tournament and taking care of the raffle prizes. And lastly, thank you to all who showed up and celebrated another successful season of umpiring.
Until next year, have a safe and happy off-season.

Allen Christie
Chair, Member Services and Communications Committee

2019 NBUA Promotions

The 2019 NBUA promotions were announced at the Annual Banquet on Saturday night.  Congratulations to those that got promoted and please congratulate your fellow umpires that moved up.

Apprentice to C Tier

Jim Berg

Tyler Alberts

Tom Niccoli

Mike Spears

John Norris

Daniel Borgida

Carl-Michael Aoanan

Kyle Nilson

Kurt Nilson

Keith Smith

Mark Kaye

West Hanold

Jim Duwe

Jim Jeffries

Paul Reynolds

Luis Tejada

Lane Loland

Ryan Grenn

C Tier to B Tier

Scott Allen

William Guest

Michael Lauritzen

Jim Melrose

Andy Null

Dave Richardson

B Tier to A Tier

Jeff Borgida

JC Cowan

Chet Morgan

Mark Snyder

Paul Williams

Dale Wilson

A Tier to Tournament Tier

Phil Bogardus

Cody Curnutt

John Matson

Earl Smith

Tim Stever

Chris VonJouanne

Henry VonJouanne

Ryan Wilson