2015 BYC Board of Trustees Candidates
Click here to learn more about the candidates for the Flag Officers.
Click here to download and print an Official Election Ballot.
We asked the each of the candidates to submit a short bio and answer the following three questions:
- What skills will you contribute to the Bellingham Yacht Club if you are elected to the Board?
- What types of programs, in our Clubhouse, on the water and in the community would you like to pursue?
- Where do you envision the Bellingham Yacht Club in the coming years?
I have had the pleasure of being a member of the BYC for 2.5 years. I am partner in a powerboat and often (when my schedule allows) crew on Thursday night races. Although I would love to say that I have just completed a round-the-world voyage, sadly, I cannot. I do however enjoy the company of those of you I have met at the club, and get out as often as possible with my two boys (Hudson & Alden) and my wife, Liz.
I am on the membership committee and frankly am a bit discouraged, because just about all of our time was spent trying to recruit new members to replace the churn we experience… I believe the membership committee should spend at least 60% time ensuring that active members get even more value from the club. Then we’d be spending the remainder of our time going through the waiting list (if all things go to plan).
I have been asked to be brief, so here goes: Although I enjoy what we have here very much if elected I intend to shake things up a bit. So please do not vote for me if you don’t want change. I think we have come a long way and have achieved many of the goals from our last 10 year plan… but it’s time to put another long term plan in place. Without a concrete vision we cannot have a strategic focus… in which case we are doomed to splinter and fade. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am skilled at this process and encourage us to put some real energy into this exercise. I am also a strong proponent of families being the key to our future. Again I do not have the answers, but I want my boys to pull me down to the club and not visa-versa… things like Friday movie nights, a smoothie or kids drink bar etc. could go a long way.
OK, so that wasn’t too brief, but I am passionate about these things, and I am passionate about the club. I also want to ensure everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point that I very much appreciate their efforts and my passion is in no way meant to denigrate their efforts, rather it is meant to build on their accomplishments.
So again, please do not vote for me if you are completely satisfied with the status quo.
I retired from NRNW Fire and Emergency Services in August of 2012. I have been a member of BYC since July of 2015. As a new member I have found that our yacht club has a membership of open and loving people. It is that welcoming place called home.
My experience is mostly cruising sailing. I have been an avid sailor for the last 9 years, five of which I have lived on board. I have cruised the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine coast. I do have some off shore experience as well.
- I have a good skill set and can figure out most challenges and meet them with appropriate solution. I have good people skills and I work well with others. As a Trustee, I would like to Chair the Building & Maintenance Committee in order to keep our clubhouse property attractive and functional for all members and guests.
- I have been involved in the Wednesday race nights as help on the mark boat. I also volunteered to help on the mark boat for the Pitch race. I’m looking forward to bar tending and competitive sailing. I have a passion for cruising so I’m looking forward to doing more of that as well.
- I see the future of BYC as a great time of growth. I feel there is much we have available to fuel that growth throughout the coming years.
My name is Susan Hempler and I have been a member of the Bellingham Yacht Club for three years and a member of the Wheel and Keel for four. I have been boating regularly for the past four years but have been on and around boats for many years in San Diego and even coming home for visits when my dad had his cruising boat and we would go out to Sucia. I am the mother of two girls Kenadi, age 12, and Katrin, age 10. I was born and raised in Bellingham but moved to San Diego California right out of high school and attended college there at UCSD. Bellingham has been our home again now for five years. My whole family resides in the Bellingham area and it has been such a blessing to have my family close while raising the girls in this beautiful environment.
My dad is Dick Hempler who has been an active member of BYC for more than 40 years. I remember growing up and my mom and dad getting a babysitter so they could go out dancing at the club and once in a while we would be treated to brunch on Sunday back when the restaurant was operating.
I am self employed and work as a medical recruiter for hospitals all over the country. Currently the girls and I live on a small farm and we have some animals to include two Pygmy goats named Pumpkin and Oreo, a boarder collie named Wilson (after Russell), two cats named Sarah and Beans, eight chickens, two ducks named Lola and Kahlua and 13 brand new ducklings! The girls and I are nature lovers at heart. During our free time we enjoy boating, hiking, and traveling. We absolutely love boating in the San Juan’s with our many great friends and participating in BYC and Wheel and Keel cruises every chance we get. I am truly blessed in so many ways and I try to live my life filled with gratitude and the hard work, firm hand shake, “you’re only as good as your word” mentality I was was raised with.
I have been a member since 2012. I’m just completing a term as Second Year Trustee (appointed by the Commodore to fill the vacancy left by Donna Olsen when she accepted the nomination for Fleet Captain). During the past year, I’ve served on several committees (Policy & Planning, Opening Day, Leukemia Cup) and created and chaired the Bar and Lounge Advisory Committee. I presented a seminar on Battery Management for the Education Committee. I am a volunteer bartender, as I feel this is the best way my experience as a professional bartender can be utilized. I am a life-long cruising sailor, having explored the Salish Sea from the South Sound to Nanaimo. I currently sail a 1946 Owens 40 Cutter, and have owned several sailboats from 12’ to 40’.
Professionally I have held several jobs in the marine industry, including maintenance/installation, sailing instructor, yacht broker, and am currently employed as the Western Regional Sales Manager for Blue Sea Systems. I am committed to giving back to the Club, as being a member has given me friendships and experiences that will last the rest of my life.
- Serving on the board this past year has given me the experience and insight required to advance the longevity and legacy of the Club and its members. I owned and operated a successful fencing club in Bellingham for 15 years, where our success balanced precariously between attracting new members and retaining current members. This experience will be beneficial in helping the Club, which faces the same dilemma (albeit on a much larger scale). My professional experience as a bartender has already allowed me to serve the club well, both behind the bar and as chairman of the Bar and Lounge Advisory Committee. My management experience at Blue Sea Systems over the last 15 years has honed my skills in teamwork, delegation, and management. I feel these skills are immediately transferrable to the position for which I am running.
- While traditions, both existing and new, are the glue that hold our club together, events that bring the membership together are the grease that keeps the machinery in motion. The Bar and Lounge Advisory Committee is committed to enhancing the social events we already enjoy, like Steak Night, Fridays@5, Monday Night Football, and Seahawks games, as well as providing a consistency of experience for the members regardless of what draws them into the club. The intent behind the formation of the Bar and Lounge Advisory Committee was to create a Standing Committee incorporated into the bylaws in order to provide both continuity of service as well as future planning for the clubhouse and its facilities. I would like to continue my service on this committee, as I think it best utilizes the skills I bring to the table.
- I would like to see the Club continue to grow its membership while offering more benefits to its members. The first helps ensure the longevity of the Club over time, while the second will do much towards lowering the rate of membership attrition. The marine industry as whole is experiencing a similar phenomenon: 7 out of 10 new boat owners leave the sport after 3 years. Creating programs and benefits that increase the interest and excitement of being involved on the water will not only keep membership fresh and alive for existing members, but will do much towards retaining newer members as their initial interest wanes. I feel the greatest strength of the club is bringing people together from all walks of life who share a passion for the water, and giving them the opportunity of creating a sustaining community that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
My name is Sherri VanKeulen. I have been a member of BYC for a little over a year and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have gained many new friends and have renewed some old ones since joining. BYC is a fantastic asset to the boating community and I am proud to be a member. I am an anesthesia tech and work in the operating room at Peacehealth St Josephs Medical Center. My husband and I were both raised in Bellingham and when not out on our boat, live at Lake Samish. We own a 38’ Bayliner as well as a 22’ Crownline and have been boating for over 20 years.
Although I am a fairly new face ay BYC, I feel that I would be an asset to the club moving forward. Some of the areas of interest to me are member acquisition, member retention and events. All of which I feel are closely married to each other. I am energetic, tenacious and fun loving with an innate ability to always see the greater good. I look forward to many years as a member of BYC.
Thank you for your consideration.
After working for 30 years as an actuary, we sold most everything and hit the road, ending up in Bellingham 10 years ago. I took sailing lessons, decided to buy a boat, and then joined the Yacht Club in 2008. I crewed for 5 years on Jamoca and for Team Bellingham at the 2012 Australia PacRim Regatta. We enjoy the BYC weekend cruises, and this past June we joined a couple other Yacht Club sailboats for an unforgettable trip up to the Octopus Islands.
For the past five years I have served as the Club’s Assistant Treasurer, handling the day-to-day bookkeeping as well as the financial reporting, budgeting, and financial planning, functions now being spread among three people. During my tenure we moved to a cashless bar and introduced the very popular Direct Debit Program, both of which streamline processes and save a lot of time for club volunteers. As AT I have been involved with almost every Yacht Club event and endeavor, assisting with the financial aspects. I have served on the Policy and Planning and Finance Committees and have also worked on Race Committee for PITCH and Pac Rim Regattas and as well as most club scrubs over the years.
- My strong financial background and experience in running businesses will help setting direction and operating the business of the club.
- I would like to see the club enhance/improve all of our programs, especially racing and social programs.
- In the coming years, we need to see a steady and manageable growth in membership, which will generate additional revenue to improve the number and quality of services to our membership.