USA Ultimate Announces Several Additions, Changes to Board of Directors

Posted: November 19, 2015 01:15 PM
DeAnna Ball Elected President following Payne Resignation, Four New Representatives Added
Colorado Springs, Colo. (November 19, 2015)—The composition of the 2016 USA Ultimate Board of Directors was confirmed Wednesday following the national governing body’s annual election and appointment process.
At-large incumbent Henry Thorne (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who ran unopposed, will return to the USA Ultimate Board of Directors for another three-year term and will serve through 2018.
Having served USA Ultimate as a board member for 17 years, Thorne has led several initiatives responsible for growing the sport and the organization dramatically, including the formation of the mixed and youth divisions and the search and hiring of the last three chief executives. 
A three-time world champion in the masters division with the Seven Sages and longtime contributor to the local Pittsburgh ultimate scene, Thorne is also a businessman and entrepreneur, most recently co-founding 4Moms, where he also serves as chief technology officer.
David Klink (Minneapolis, Minn.) was elected as the elite athlete representative after also running unopposed. Klink is also set to serve a three-year term that runs from Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2018.
Well known to the ultimate community, Klink has competed in 14 consecutive seasons as a mixed division player, most notably with Drag’n Thrust – a team he co-founded in 2009 and led to three consecutive national titles (2013-15) and a world title in 2014. 
In addition to a long and successful career as an elite athlete, Klink also brings a wealth of organizational and administrative experience to the board. For eight years he has served on the Twin Cities Ultimate League Board of Directors and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Minnesota Youth Ultimate Board of Directors. He has also volunteered as USA Ultimate’s National Mixed Director since 2013, served on the 2013 World Games selection committee, and coached three Minneapolis-area Youth Club Championship teams and the Cretin-Derham Hall High School girls’ team. 
Professionally, Klink is an attorney practicing business litigation, real estate and banking law. 
In addition to the two elected positions, two additional representatives were appointed to three-year terms. 
Audrius Barzdukas (Los Angeles, Calif.), who was previously elected to the USA Ultimate Board of Directors as the Southwest region representative and served from 2010 through 2012, was appointed to the available independent seat.
Barzdukas has spent his professional career working, serving and participating in sport from the grass roots to the elite levels. As the former Associate Director of Coaching for the United States Olympic Committee, Barzdukas served as a member of the USOC’s Athlete Performance Group and interfaced with all 45 Olympic sport national governing bodies to develop programs for sustained competitive excellence.
Prior to his role at the USOC, Barzdukas served as the Director of Team Services at USA Swimming. He has also chaired committees for the International Council for Coach Education, the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (a coalition of MLB, the NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA, NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA and NFSHA), and the American College of Sports Medicine.
A writer and co-producer of sport films, Barzdukas also works as a television commercial treatment writer and assisted with crafting the vision for commercials for several major brands, including Adidas, Nike, Gatorade, VISA, Coca-Cola, Chevron, American Express and Mercedes. 
Currently, Barzdukas resides in Los Angeles and is the Associate Head of Harvard-Westlake School and Head of the Upper School. Earlier he served as the school’s head of athletics and earned Harvard-Westlake the California Interscholastic Federation Commissioner’s Cup for best girls’ athletic program and the award for best overall athletic program in California.   
The board of directors also approved the appointment of Steve Mooney (Boston, Mass.).
Familiar to the ultimate community as a member of the Ultimate Hall of Fame (class of 2006), Mooney brings to the board a unique combination that’s half world-class athlete and half marketing executive. The seven-time national and two-time world champion as a member of both Rude Boys and Death or Glory currently serves as executive vice president and managing director for Jack Morton Worldwide – one of the world’s leading brand experience agencies.
As leader of Jack Morton’s Boston operations, Mooney oversees the development of multi-year agency relationships dedicated to building and activating brands for clients with a strong focus on digital experience. Throughout his career he’s played various roles from strategy and creative to management and most recently worked on integrated campaigns for major brands like Subway and Fidelity.    
In addition to the election and appointments, several other notable changes were announced, along with the election of new officers.
Mike Payne (Oakland, Calif.) resigned as president, but will remain on the board of directors through the end of his three-year appointment on Dec. 31, 2016. 
Payne was first elected to the board as the Northwest region representative and served consecutive three-year terms from 2004-09. After a year away, he was re-elected to a third three-year term from 2011-13 and then appointed to his current term which began in 2014.  During his tenure, Payne first served as the organization’s president from 2006-08, and then again from 2011 until his recent resignation.
Under Payne’s leadership the sport and the organization flourished, realizing unprecedented growth and exposure. During his time as president, Payne oversaw the development of USA Ultimate’s first five-year strategic plan (2008-12). He then guided a similar process resulting in the organization’s existing six-year strategic plan that runs through 2018, a roadmap for the sport that coincides with the 50th anniversary of the invention of ultimate. A leader in the ultimate community for nearly 25 years as a player, coach and administrator, Payne also led USA Ultimate’s pursuit of membership in the United States Olympic Committee – recognition that was formally granted in 2014.
At a Nov. 7 meeting, the board voted to determine new officer assignments.  DeAnna Ball (Columbus, Ohio) was elected board president, while Thorne will assume the role of Vice President.
Involved with the sport for almost 25 years, Ball becomes board president and brings with her unparalleled experience as an athlete in the open, women’s and mixed divisions, as well as a coach and volunteer. An esteemed winner of the Kathy Pufahl Spirit Award in 2007, she is currently the head coach of Ohio State Fever – a program she led to the national title in 2014. 
As an administrator, Ball previously volunteered as USA Ultimate’s national women’s director for nine years, sat on the organizations competition committee and currently chairs the equity task force.  
Also, Kevin Minderhout (Portland, Ore.), who was elected as an At-Large representative last year, resigned his seat on the board effective immediately. 
Kathy Hendrickson (Pittsburgh, Pa.), whose three-year term as the elected Mid-Atlantic representative expires on Dec. 31, was appointed by the board to fill the remainder of Minderhout’s term, which concludes on Dec. 31, 2017. 
The other officer positions remain unchanged as Josh Seamon (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) and Brian Garcia (San Francisco, Calif.) retain their seats as secretary and treasurer respectively. 
Mary-Clare Brennan and Stephen Hubbard leave the board following the expiration of their terms on Dec. 31, 2015. 
2016 USA Ultimate Board of Directors:
DeAnna Ball (President) – Elected, At-Large
Henry Thorne (Vice President) – Elected, At-Large
Josh Seamon (Secretary) – Elected, At-Large
Brian Garcia (Treasurer) – Elected, Elite Athlete
Audrius Barzdukas – Appointed, Independent
Val Belmonte – Appointed, Independent
Mike Eck – Appointed, Independent
Ness Fajardo – Elected, Elite Athlete
Kathy Hendrickson – Appointed to fill vacant Elected, At-Large seat
David Klink – Elected, Elite Athlete
Steve Mooney - Appointed
Mike Payne – Appointed

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