You are here

NICA president Austin McInerny stepping down

Published January 31, 2019

BERKELEY, Calif. (BRAIN) — After seven years leading the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), Austin McInerny is stepping down as president. A search committee overseen by NICA's board of directors is seeking a new president, and McInerny will stay on with the nonprofit through the leadership transition.

"Personally for me, it was a realization I needed a little break from the day-to-day 24/7 lifestyle that this job requires. And I also thought NICA could benefit from someone who has more experience managing an organization that's gotten this size and number of employees. That's not in my skill set," McInerny told BRAIN. "I've been learning on the job, and that's OK. But we have a huge opportunity here and I'd like someone that's got some day-to-day operational experience that I don't have to make sure we're staying on track."

Since its founding in 2009, NICA has grown from three youth mountain bike leagues in California and Colorado to 25 leagues in 24 states, with two additional leagues set to begin racing in 2020. Ridership has grown 30 to 40 percent each year, according to McInerny. This year, close to 20,000 student athletes and 8,500 to 9,000 active coaches are expected to participate in NICA. The association now has 23 employees in addition to volunteers serving in advisory roles.

"I'm proud that over the last nine years since NICA was formed, we've been beating this drum hard. The impact is starting to be felt — and not just by us saying it, but retailers who are working closely with teams are reporting increased sales and seeing new people coming into the shops," McInerny said. "If they're a retailer and they're scratching their head about what to do, connecting with kids and families that are involved with NICA teams is one way to get more people into your shop."

At its board meeting in October, NICA adopted a five-year strategic plan. McInerny said it made sense for him to leave now so the nonprofit could find a new leader who will see that plan through.

"We want to see a wider array of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds participating in cycling. We also want to see a diversified revenue stream for us. We've been heavily dependent on the bike industry, and that's worked. But with the challenges the bike industry is going through, we need a wider array of support. So if one big brand has a hard year and cuts their marketing budget, we're not as impacted," he said.

The five-year plan also calls for strengthening operations and support to deliver measurable value to NICA leagues, expanding organizational capacity to meet growth needs, and developing a comprehensive marketing and branding strategy, among other goals.

Once the transition period is over for the new president, McInerny will take an unpaid position on the NICA advisory board. He has a master's degree in regional planning and worked in natural resource planning for 15 years before leading NICA, first as executive director and later as president following a reorganization. He'd like to put that experience to work by continuing in cycling advocacy.

"I have a strong interest in advocacy as it relates to multi-use access, but I'm not sure what job capacity that will be. I'll explore what's out there and see how I can add value somewhere. I've gotten to know the players, I know the space pretty well, and I believe in it. I love cycling, so I want to continue that. But first and foremost is making sure NICA is in the right space and has someone who can take this job and help NICA grow," he said.

Parties interested in applying for the NICA president position can send a cover letter and resume to

Editor's note: Look for a Q&A with Austin McInerny in the March 1 print edition of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.


Join the Conversation