BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—Three U.S. bike industry leaders were elected as Bikes Belong Coalition board officers at the organization’s meeting Tuesday in Boulder, Colorado.
Steve Meineke, president of Raleigh America, was picked to become president after serving three years as vice president. Former treasurer Chris Fortune, chief executive officer of Saris Cycling Group, was named vice president. Michael Mercuri, vice president of SRAM Corporation, was elected treasurer. All three began service immediately as a scheduled transition.
Kozo Shimano, outgoing board president, opened the meeting by reflecting on his three-year term.
“I was basically saying we’ve experienced a really strong three years. We’ve had a lot of major companies join and rejoin, and also made the deal with Interbike during that time,” said Shimano. “I like to leave an organization in better condition than I received it. I think I’ve done that with Shimano and with Bikes Belong.”
Shimano said his only apprehension about Bikes Belong are the economic uncertainties, but he said he feels the organization is positioned strongly with a budget that has doubled over the past three years.
Shimano will no longer represent Shimano American on the board, but will retain a board seat to offer “organizational memory,” said Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong’s executive director.
The new slate of officers is poised to guide Bikes Belong’s board until the end of 2010. The coming year will be critical as Bikes Belong works to maximize federal funding for bicycling in the next transportation bill, due for approval in September.
“Our No. 1 priority is the reauthorization of the transportation bill. That has moved way up to the front of the agenda,” said Meineke. “The four of us—myself, Chris, Mike and Tim—will be focused on that one item more than anything. Tim will be spending his time deploying people, resources and getting support from non-industry players that are part of the bike movement.”
Meineke, who has served on the board since May 2004, said he has seen a shift among board members toward a more activist role in policy issues.
“It was really interesting how outspoken everyone was, and everyone concurred this transportation bill authorization is a really critical link to take it to the next level,” Meineke said. “We’re at a very important time to raise the bar in the next year to 18 months.”