Three months after the last Trade Association of Paddlesports' executive director resigned (click here to read story), TAPS has hired a new man, Paul German, to take the helm and lead the association forward.
"TAPS is pleased to have found an industry professional with documented success in paddlesports. His contagious creative energy coupled with an open and direct communication style falls in line with TAPS' needs," Ray Fusco, president of the TAPS board of directors, told SNEWSÂ®. "Paul has a strong background in small business management, specifically in paddlesports retail and outfitter endeavors, which will be perfectly matched with the segment we feel needs attention. Paul has strong organization skills, a solid financial acumen as well as event-planning experience."
German's resume includes consulting for many tourism businesses in Vancouver, British Columbia, including a large new paddlesports retail store in the city, directing what is now one of the largest kayak schools in the province, as well as instructing and guiding internationally.
The official release from TAPS stated that, "Paul's commitment to the commercial and consumer side of all paddlesports is evident in the excitement of his voice. Paddling ocean kayaks, whitewater kayaks, canoes and rafts, Paul can 'speak the language' of the industries we represent and this will give him the ability to listen to members' needs and act accordingly. As well, he will be able to promote TAPS to the broad base of the boating world."
When we got in touch with German shortly after the announcement, and his director's seat at TAPS was barely warm, he told us that, "I am extremely excited to take over this position and I look forward to integrating my skills to aid in the development of TAPS. We expect to increase turnout to the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium, develop new member benefits, and in turn increase our membership drive across North America. We are also excited about new initiatives that will strengthen our mandate over the next few years.
"I want to get in touch with all our existing members and listen to what direction they would like to see TAPS going. At the same time, I want every paddlesports business (retailer, manufacturer and outfitter) to know what TAPS stands for and that we are here to help them in their business pursuits," he added.
As is TAPS' tradition, the main offices move to wherever the executive director is located, in this case, Vancouver, British Columbia. However, TAPS assured SNEWSÂ® that even though German and TAPS are now based in Vancouver, TAPS is still very much a U.S. trade association that will work to continue to develop the U.S. market while also working to integrate the Canadian paddlesports market into the mix.
German may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-755-5228.
SNEWSÂ® View: German has his work cut out for him, but we have to say, after only a few email exchanges and a single phone chat, we're impressed, as the TAPS board is, with his energy, drive and passion. Chris Mitchell, the executive director who preceded German has set the foundation for German to build on, but it is just that -- a foundation with little above it currently to show that a house worth living in is in the offing. Paddlesports remains a divided and at times, decidedly splintered industry in need of a single voice. The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) has certainly been making a much stronger play of late to be that voice it appears. Nothing wrong with that, really, but if there are two associations now clamoring for membership and political attention, the stage is going to get even more confusing to watch. TAPS will need to move quickly, smoothly and energetically to communicate to the industry at large that it can and should be the one voice that represents paddlesports -- retailers, manufacturers, reps, outfitters and more. We hope that both TAPS and PPA will begin working together to underscore a feeling of solidarity and unification for the good of the industry. Each has a place. But there must be only one voice speaking.
We look forward to seeing German fulfill the TAPS goals that Fusco and the board outlined to us in December of last year: increased and tangible member benefits, increased exposure nationally through an expansion of the Professional Development Series, and, absolutely, an increase in membership.