BERKELEY, CA (BRAIN)—The National Interscholastic Cycling Association has received a major human resources boost as Ben Capron has stepped away from his post as chief brand officer of Specialized Bicycle Components to become the development director at NICA. He started on June 1, as Specialized is underwriting Capron's salary at NICA.
Matt Fritzinger, NICA’s founder and executive director said, “This is a tremendous boost for NICA. Ben's had a successful career at Specialized spanning nearly two decades, and we're very excited to have his experience, energy and drive on the team. This is a capacity builder, it will help us keep up with the demand for new leagues."
Capron, 40, from San Anselmo, California, is a founding member of the NICA board and has been vice-president since its inception, so he knows well what he is getting into.
Capron said, “While on sabbatical from Specialized this winter, it hit me that I needed to fully commit myself to working with NICA. As a kid and throughout my life, riding has been a hugely powerful force. It’s my exercise, preferred mode of transportation, and the primary way I connect with nature. But my love for the bike isn’t unique. Everyone involved in the NICA movement loves riding; you can’t miss seeing this passion in the eyes of every student-athlete. That’s what this is all about—switching kids onto riding to improve their lives and the world we live in. I feel so lucky and honored to join the NICA staff and the larger NICA community on our mission to bring riding to teens coast to coast.”
Mike Sinyard, the founder and president of Specialized, the founding national sponsor of NICA, explained why it makes sense for his company to underwrite Capron’s salary.
“I am passionate about seeing kids on bikes, and I want this to be our legacy. Funding NICA is helping to change the world. The NICA movement is about making high school cycling as accessible as soccer at a time when the benefits that riding yields are needed more than ever. Matt and the NICA staff have developed a program that is robust and scalable, which makes this more than a pipe dream. It only makes sense to help NICA bring Ben on board to boost the horsepower of the program. I encourage every person and brand that believes in kids and the future of our sport to get involved with NICA.”
Fritzinger said, “The tremendous support from Specialized is not only very generous, but also it shows that the higher aspirations of the two organizations—getting more people into the sport and creating lifelong cyclists—are closely aligned. It’s inspiring to see big industry players being so committed in their support of the future of cycling in the USA. We hugely appreciate Specialized’s backing.”
The NICA board of directors includes employees of several cycling-related corporations including Trek, Sidi America, and Clif Bar, which indicates the aspirations of NICA are aligned with an increasing number of brands in the cycling industry.
Capron’s primary focus is on increasing revenue for the association to expand capacity for growth—working closely with strategic planning and development consultant Nat Lopes who has been instrumental in building the financial backbone of NICA. The areas for expansion include structural preparations to broaden the provision of existing services and programs that will be used by the exponentially growing number of leagues NICA plans to add in the coming 24 months.