2013 BYC Board of Trustees Candidates

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Ron Erickson


Born 1944 in San Pedro Ca. Graduated from high School in 1962, I entered junior college to become a police officer. That did not work out as I was too tall, max was 6’4”. I went back to fishing. I also worked for an oil well service company. I went back to commercial fishing and Sport fishing and tug boats. Fished and I was part owner in a cab company in Kodiak Alaska. I Went back to Calif. to move family up to Bellingham, due to a job transfer from San Pedro Ca. working for an oil services company that led to a job at Arco, retired after 28 years in 1986.

My goal for the club is to continue to expand membership, provide services for members as we can afford, maintain our sailing activities and possibly expand our power boat activities.

I was on the board years ago for one term, but due to my job at the refinery (12 hour shift going from day to night and back) it did not allow me time to enjoy the position.

Ron Erickson

Jim Gibson


I participate and enjoy the full spectrum of power boat activities, sailboat racing competition, and cruising adventures. Due to my deep appreciation of the benefits of our friendly BYC, and our very special surrounding waters, I rejoined the Club in 2003. I have been involved in BYC racing events, including participation in PITCH Regattas, as well as service as a Committee Boat volunteer. I currently serve in a volunteer capacity in a wide variety of ways, including as a volunteer bartender, helping with activities that enhance the maintenance of the facility such as annual club scrubs, and have provided assistance with various Club events, including Commodore’s Ball preparation. As a member of the Reciprocal Committee, and I am proud to have assisted the committee, and being able to add the Saltspring Island Sailing Club to the reciprocal list this year.

I have sailed throughout many parts of the world, including sailing in the Caribbean, the Sea of Cortes, the Pacific Ocean, and throughout British Colombian waters. Through participation in international boating, including unique events such as the Baja Ha-Ha, and barging in France, I have gained experiences and knowledge that can be useful to our Club. These experiences have given me insight into the operations and appeal of yacht clubs as diverse as the comprehensive San Diego YC, to facilities such as the tiny ‘Roatan Club.’ As a member of BGCC, BAC, and the Center for Wooden Boats, I have a good understanding of the common elements that create successful club experiences.

  1. Which 2 board committees do you think your skills and interests would best serve?
    • I have a keen interest in serving on the Policy and Planning Committee.
    • I obtained my doctorate degree in educational leadership, specializing in policy and organizational development. As a result, I am aware of the importance of effective and efficient leadership and management. I would like to be able to assist in updating the Club’s vision and mission statements, and to enhance the communication of the important information contained in the Club’s Bylaws. For example, after review and discussion, selected components of the Bylaws could be highlighted in the JibSheet, added to the BYC website, and meaningfully communicated to the membership in a variety of settings. I would also like to assist in the compilation of ongoing ‘Long Range Planning Survey Results and the corresponding formulation of action plans that highlight what is working well, what needs to be improved, and what motivates members to be involved in club activities.
    • Due to my interest and background with the Reciprocal Committee, I would like to assist the Outstation Committee as well.
  2. What activities and events you would like to see in the lounge and at the club?
    • I would you like to see the many cherished traditions and events carried on at the Club, such as the Commodore’s Ball, the Spring Dance, Monday Night Football, the Tom and Jerry Party, Friday’s at 5, and of course, the exciting Opening Day activities.
    • I would also like to see expanded boater education opportunities, and special televised events in the lounge, including the viewing of the America’s Cup Races.
  3. Where would you like to see the club going over the next 2-3 years?
    • In addition to carrying on the events that we know ‘Pack-the-House,’ I think it is essential to determine the needs and desires of Club members through ongoing questionnaires, discussions and meetings, so that Board members can create vision and mission statements, which will in turn drive the variety of meaningful and exciting activities, programs, and events over the next 2 to 3 years.

Jim Gibson

Richard A. “Dick” Labadie


I became a member of the Bellingham Yacht Club in 1973 after having participated in BYC club races in 1972 as crew on various boats.

  • 1974 through 1975: Assistant Chair PITCH on the water Race Committee.
  • 1976 through 1986 or 1987: Chair, on the water, PITCH Race Committee.
  • 1975 Through 1976: Chair BYC Race Committee.
  • 1977 Through 1988: I served on various boards and assisted where needed.
  • 2001 First Bartender’s class, five years in the bartender rotation. Second Bartender’s class two years in the rotation.
  • 2001 through 2003: Helped with building and house issues, helped prepare bar for move upstairs from wardroom.
  • 1972 Through 2002: Actively raced in club racing program. 1972 on a Thunderbird Sailboat, 1973 to my own Pacific 28 “SeaQuester” and finally in 1976 my Cal 29 “Zephyr”, which I still own.

I have, over the term of my membership, tried to apply the principles of “Group Fluid Dynamics”. That is: See a job that needs doing, come forth, do it and then step back.

I believe that this was Commodore Chuck McCord’s intention when he transitioned the club to an all-volunteer organization. The concept works as it encourages us to take ownership and pride in the things that we have personally accomplished for our club. Our participation truly makes it OUR CLUB.

  1. Which Board Committee would my skills and interests serve?
    • During my professional career I was an IRS Field Agent and Auditor (9 years) and then principal in my own, full service, accounting practice (35 Years). Of course accounting and finance committee would be a natural. However, I am versatile and could comfortably contribute to whichever committee on which I am asked to serve.
  2. What activities and events would I like to see in the lounge and at the Club?
    • I would like to see more events structured for families and kids and junior members. The burger nights after the Wednesday races should be continued throughout the year with perhaps the addition of Pizza slices for the kids. And, of course, Friday @5 should be continued.
  3. Where would I like to see the club going over the next two or three years?
    • I would like to see the club continue along its’ all volunteer path with an emphasis on further developing the process of Group Fluid Dynamics. This process is dependent upon the already excellent internet communications provided by PC. Steve Moore and is further enhanced by the recent excellent letter sent out by Building and House under the leadership of Mark Santosuosso.

Dick Labadie

Donna Olson


My sea stories starts with growing up in Alaska. I was born on an island in Akutan, Alaska, a village of under a hundred people where we flew in by sea plane or came in by boat. Our family then moved to the City of King Cove, Alaska of 1000 people. I have many great memories of taking the Alaska State Ferry to Seattle, WA after fishing season. Moved to Bellingham, WA in 1992 and started buying Real Estate. I lived in Alaska ten months out of the year and lived in Bellingham two months out of the year. Decided to move to Bellingham in 1995 and found out how great it is here and bought a 28’ Erwin sailboat and have been cruising the San Juan Islands since. My husband Keith Olsen and I bought B&J Fiberglass, LLC in 2006 where we build, fabricate, and repair boats. I joined the Bellingham Yacht Club in 2011 first as a volunteer for Wednesday night Race Committee then we joined the Club on Opening Day. I soon found out we should have joined the Club many years ago.

Since 2011, I volunteer on Tuesday night Race Committee, Wednesday night Race Committee, Mark Boat driver, Score Tuesday and Wednesday Racing, Sailing Fleet Secretary for marine permits, and actively crew on Hravn a J33 on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Crewing in the Spring and Summer wasn’t enough for me and so I joined the crew on Zen No Zen an Elite 32 during the Fall and Winter season. I am also a volunteer Bartender, volunteer in many Social Programs and Boating Programs, co-chaired Programs, and currently co-chair the Membership Committee. I have also donated time and materials to the BYC Youth Sailing J24s and FJs.

Where would you like to see the club going over the next 2-3 years?
What activities and events you would like to see in the lounge and at the club.

My interest for the Bellingham Yacht Club is to see our membership grow and our boating programs grow over the next few years. We have many great social programs and events and feel it is a great combination. I would also like to see more members volunteer in our programs and have structure and systems in place for new trustees and the elective officers for when arriving into their term.

Which 2 board committees do you think your skills and interests would best serve?

My committee preference is Membership and Public Relations if elected. I would also like to be a part of the Executive Committee, Bar & Lounge Committee, and Outstation. My professional work experience includes being on a Board of Directors for a Non-Profit Company as the Vice President and Secretary Treasurer, Notary Public, a Mill Representative as a Compliance Specialist for three business groups, Office Manager, Project Manager Asst. and currently own and manage a fiberglass business. Being in the boating industry I have met past members, members that would like to rejoin, and talk to people about BYC. Surprises me when someone asks me when I show pictures of sailboat racing they wonder if we should be listing that far over.

BYC has made a difference for me and I have enjoyed being a part of the social programs and boating programs. I also play volleyball at the City League in the fall and winter season, enjoy reading, taking pictures, and playing cribbage.

Donna Olson

Gary Smith

I have been a BYC member off and on for 6 years. I’m an active Pirate and have volunteered in maintaining our Inati Bay Outstation. I started sailing in 1975 and started racing sailboats in 1978 when I purchased my first boat. I rebuilt a Dragon class and sailed it in the Worlds in 1986 and then went in to 6 meter class racing. I rebuilt a 6 meter Pacemaker and owned it for 7 years then my wife Jenny and I owned a C&C 30 and used it for cruising; and I owned a Pearson 40 for 6 years. I also raced on a JBoat for years. As you can see sailing has been a staple in my life. I come from a long family generation of East Coast Sailing from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and my Grandfather was the owner of Bluenose I. I love boating and I would love to be more active in contributing the BYC.

  1. Which 2 board committees do you think your skills and interests would best serve?
    • I would like to be involved in the Building and House Committee, the Outstation Committee and Adult and Youth Racing Programs.
  2. What activities and events you would like to see in the lounge and at the club?
    • I would like to see more activities involving Youth sailing.
  3. Where would you like to see the club going over the next 2-3 years?
    • I would like to see more involvement in the Wednesday Night sailing program to build it back up and grow it to what it used to be a few years ago.

Gary Smith

Missy Steffen


My husband Dave and I and our son Brock have enjoyed both sailing and power boating for most of our lives. We have participated in many cruises and competed in local and out of town Regattas on our sail boat, Vitesse. Whether it’s cruising or racing we just love to be on the water. We have been active BYC members since 1994. In our years of being members we have met great friends, who we call family. We are very proud to be a part of the passion, volunteerism and growth of the club throughout the years. I have been involved and chaired several events and programs, such as, wine tasting, Commodores Ball, brunches, opening Day and Friday at Five; As well as, serving on the board as Trustee from 2008 to 2010. During my time on the board, I was a member of the interior design team for the club’s remodel. Going forward, I’d like to see continued efforts in the club/ building improvements, utilizing the talent and creativity of our members. New members are a key part of the clubs growth and vitality. I feel it is important to grow their education and involvement with club traditions, as well as new ones. I am honored to be nominated for trustee and have an opportunity to help accomplish future sights and goals of the membership. Thank You.

Missy Steffen