Nine months after riding into the TAPS offices to a round of applause and a few "saints be praised" tributes, Paul German has resigned his post as the executive director of TAPS. But let's be real here. German is stepping down for exactly the right reasons -- to accept a job, along with his new wife Kelly, running the watersports operations at a 600-acre adventure center on St. Lucia in the southern Caribbean.
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We spoke with German in early January, still working frenetically in the TAPS offices, four days after his supposed official date of resignation. German told us that as thrilled as he was with the opportunity to live a desired lifestyle and enjoy a dream job, he's absolutely feeling awful about leaving TAPS.
"If I could work the job and work for TAPS from St. Lucia, I would," German told us. "There is so much potential for the association to become that needed leader in the paddlesports business. It is so important that there is a unified association, one that is working on projects that will affect every individual and every business, from small retailers on up to huge manufacturers."
German is leaving TAPS in very good shape, Ray Fusco, president of the TAPS board, told us.
"In 2005, it was all about Paul getting TAPS to a point where we could finally move past piddling through all the administrative stuff and begin to think creatively and proactively," said Fusco.
In 2005, TAPS took the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Open Air Demo to a new venue, making it one of the most successful demos for the trade show, according to German. Fusco didn't disagree. In addition, the association's Sea Kayak Symposium realized a 10 percent increase in revenues, and its taxes are complete and fully up-to-date.
"Now, the next ED at TAPS can focus on moving the association aggressively forward and continuing to fulfill the mission that the board has set in motion," German told us.
Fusco indicated that TAPS is reaping the rewards of a somewhat tumultuous market for paddlesports as the quality of candidates for the executive director position is extraordinarily high.
"It's an 'A' list of people on our short list, and making a decision is going to be very, very hard," said Fusco.
Fusco told us that mission No. 1 for TAPS is to find that excellent executive director, who can step in and continue moving forward in partnership with VNU to continue improving Outdoor Retailer's demo. In addition, the association's main goals will be to focus on the membership again and reignite the industry to join TAPS.
"TAPS needs to continue to grow and the board and the executive director need to continue to think dynamically and act creatively toward inspiring and leading the paddlesports industry forward," said Fusco.
As for where the new offices will be, that depends on where the new executive director is located. "TAPS will always be a transient office. We are a virtual office organization that can operate anywhere that the executive director needs to be," Fusco added.
SNEWSÂ® View: While German's energy will be missed, all that he has done for TAPS and as a result for the paddlesports industry needs to be acknowledged. And one of the most important things he has done is have the fortitude to leave a job he loves for another one he loves more to live a lifestyle that is healthy and inspiring. We should all be so fortunate. We are sure the new ED will be superb and with the board's guidance, and under Fusco's leadership as one of the best presidents we've seen at TAPS, the association will continue to grow into one that can be that singular voice of reason and direction the paddlesports industry so desperately needs.