Board of Directors Election
Thanks to all who voted in our annual board election
Cascade is a membership-based organization, and its members ultimately determine the course, impact, and efficacy of the organization in working towards its mission of creating a better community through cycling. Voting in our annual election is a great way to participate in the future of the club and we appreciate your participation.
We are happy to announce the six new and reelected board members who will serve a three-year term beginning in 2014:
*Indicates incumbent candidate
On a typical day, I ride with my kids to school and then commute approximately five miles from Ballard to South Lake Union. I love riding with my family and friends. I usually describe myself as a "utilitarian cyclist," as my bike is what generally gets me from point A to point B. A highlight of 2013 was riding STP with my nine-year-old daughter, as well as riding my first Rockwell Relay in southern Utah (530 miles through gorgeous desert country)!
I’m an experienced marketing and communications professional with deep experience in corporate social responsibility, global communications and technology product marketing. I’m a principal with Linksbridge, a small consulting/advisory firm in Seattle that provides strategy consulting and research services to NGOs, nonprofits and social impact organizations. Prior to joining Linksbridge, I managed marketing for a digital consumer product at Amazon.com, created the corporate communications and community engagement functions for a publicly traded specialty financial services company, and helped manage community engagement and global Technology for Good programs at Microsoft. I have experience leading two Seattle-area non-profit volunteer organizations. I’ve served on Cascade’s board of directors since 2011, after being elected by the club’s members. The then-brand new board asked me to serve as its President and during my tenure as board chair/president I helped guide the board and the club through some of the turbulence it had recently experienced.
I would love to serve an additional term on the board. I’m confident in and optimistic about the position and future of the club, and hope to help our new executive director build and expand upon the strengths that Cascade has. I bring important perspective, experience, temperament, and stability to the board and I’ve worked hard to strengthen the organization's community outreach and leadership. I believe in Cascade's mission and strongly support the club's work in advocacy, education, and recreation. Cascade provides wonderful opportunities to cyclists of all stripes: from kids to families to regular commuters to competitive cyclists, Cascade is a tremendous resource to Seattle and the region.
I sincerely ask for your consideration and your vote, as well as your ongoing support and confidence as we – together – continue to build a strong, capable, and energetic bicycle club.
As a Cascade Bicycle Club member, volunteer and community advocate, I have been working hard for the last five years to make our community a safe, fun place for bicycling. I believe that service on the Cascade Board will allow me to make an even bigger contribution.
Raising a family in Seattle, I did not feel safe bicycling in the city for many years, and the only riding I did was on the Burke-Gilman trail or on Bicycle Sundays. Then several years ago I gathered the courage to start commuting to work by bike, with the help of a Cascade program to encourage individuals to become regular bicycle commuters. Now I use my bicycle as a primary form of transportation, whether biking to work, running errands by bike or biking for fun and exercise. My husband and I even have a bike trailer that we call our “San Juan-mobile” for weekend trips to the islands on our bikes!
After overcoming my own fears and rediscovering the joy of bicycling, it seemed natural to jump into advocacy to foster an environment in which more people would be comfortable riding bikes. But it was the tragic death of one of my coworkers as he was bicycling home from work in South Lake Union that was the real call-to-action. In the wake of his death, I played a leadership role in bringing together a group of large employers in South Lake Union to advocate for programs and infrastructure that will increase safety for bicycling. Over the past five years, I have served as the vice chair of the Citizen's Advisory Committee for Seattle Children's Hospital and worked to ensure that the hospital’s expansion is mitigated by a substantial package of bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Finally, I was very excited to be able to participate in the first Advocacy Leadership Institute offered by Cascade.
With master’s degrees in both science and business, I have spent my career facilitating the commercialization of biomedical research. My skills and strengths include complex negotiations, creative problem solving, and building public-private partnerships. I have spent 20 years working for non-profit organizations. I understand the important role that the board fills in working with the leadership team to set high level strategy and provide support to reach individual goals.
Despite the fact that Seattle has fallen behind other major cities in investing in bicycle infrastructure, I love that every day I share the road with more cyclists. We are on the verge of a major shift in thinking about transportation options, and we have an exciting opportunity to increase public support for bicycling. Cascade has the reach and influence to make a major impact. My advocacy experience, skills, and strengths will help Cascade fulfill its vision of creating a community where everyone bicycles.
Merlin Rainwater, RN, MN
I’ve enjoyed biking for transportation most of my life. As a nurse, I see riding a bike as the cornerstone to my personal well-being, and as the answer to most of the world’s problems.
I first joined Cascade as a Bike To Work Team Captain. At the time I was the only person biking to work at my office, and I was pleased and surprised when five co-workers joined me. Both those who chose to ride on my team, and those who declined had similar questions and concerns: “I don’t know how to find a safe route to ride!” “I’m scared to ride in traffic!” “What about the hills and the rain?” I had easy suggestions for the rain (right gear) and the hills (right gears), and I thought it should also be easy to help my co-workers plan good routes. After all, I’ve been riding my bike all over Seattle for years! Looking at the streets through my co-workers eyes however, the disappearing bike lanes, sharrows leading riders into heavy traffic, and complete gaps in mapped bike routes jumped out at me. I became an even stronger advocate for biking, walking and transit. When I retired last year from my career as a hospice nurse, I redoubled my commitment to making Seattle “a better community through bicycling.”
Last summer, right after I retired, I had the privilege of participating in Cascade’s first Advocacy Leadership Institute. With the support of Cascade’s advocacy staff and friends in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, I initiated a project called Safe Routes to Health, calling on Seattle’s healthcare institutions to be champions for safe streets where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy biking, walking or traveling in wheelchairs. I’m becoming a ride leader with the goal of adding more “easy” and “leisurely” rides to the Cascade daily ride calendar, especially in Central and South Seattle.
As a member of Cascade’s board, my goals are to
- be a strong voice for my friends who would like to ride bikes but are deterred by unsafe and confusing conditions in our communities;
- insure that Cascade is a welcoming club that reflects King County’s full range of diversity;
- expand efforts that encourage people to begin riding bikes, including the Major Taylor Project, Family Riding events and classes, and school-based events such as bike rodeos and Bike to School efforts;
- expand “easy” and “leisurely” ride offerings for beginning bicyclists, families and older adults;
- advocate for a transportation system that integrates biking with walking and transit to create vibrant, sustainable communities.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Currently I work as a Program Manager at Commute Seattle and I’m also Chair of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. Through my job and volunteer activities, I’m working daily to improve Seattle’s bicycling infrastructure and to create a supportive environment for all ages and abilities of bike riders. Cascade Bicycle Club has been instrumental in growing my passion for bicycling by providing access to a community of cyclists who bike for many different and wonderful reasons, by championing projects, supporting elected officials, and lobbying for the types of improvements I’d like to see in the Puget Sound Region. Biking is my hobby, my personal passion and a lifestyle choice for me and my family.
Most of my time on the bike is spent Monday through Friday heading to or from Phinney Ridge to Downtown Seattle for work. There’s nothing I love more though than exploring new areas on my bike with friends. My favorite rides are through Woodway to Edmonds, NE Perkins Way to Kenmore, Vashon, Bainbridge and Whidbey Islands and the North Cascades Highway.
My interest in becoming a member of Cascade’s Board of Directors is to use my skills, background and passion for biking to help the organization meet its mission and goals. My experience in non-profit management, strategic planning and budgeting has given me a great foundation to be able to contribute to the Board of Directors and I’m hopeful that through Cascade’s rides, classes, youth and commute programs, and policy work we will continue to see more and more people using their bicycles for everyday transportation. While there are so many wonderful benefits of cycling, including, health, cost savings, environmental benefits, etc, my main love for biking comes from the reality that it is a fun and excellent way to get around! Sharing the joy of bicycle riding with a wonderful community of riders is what I’m truly inspired by.
I’m an avid cyclist and ride leader. My greatest passion is leading and participating in Cascade Daily Rides with my wife, Jane, along with riding the Cascade events. We are also deeply engaged in Cascade’s work in supporting and expanding cycling programs for kids.
I have served as a board member since 2010, as Secretary, VP and now Treasurer. I want to continue to serve on the board to help Cascade achieve the following vision:
- Significantly expand the free Daily Rides program, including increasing participation, diversity, geographical coverage, offerings for new riders and rider satisfaction
- Offer more event riding opportunities for members and newer riders, with a focus on enjoyment and safety
- Significantly increase membership by enhancing member loyalty, reducing turnover and increasing Cascade’s visibility
- Build the financial means and political power to influence cycling’s infrastructure and safety needs, including the development of greenways and safer cycling routes
- Provide the online tools and presence to support our members’ needs and our growth objectives
- Enhance the volunteers’ experience and involvement in all aspects of the club
- Use partnerships to help advocate for and support the cycling cause
- Invest in programs that get more kids on bikes, riding safely for fun, fitness and transportation
Having been deeply involved with Cascade for many years and actively participated in all of its activities, I have the experience to help the organization achieve these goals. I also have the critical commitment required, as demonstrated by my ten years as a ride leader and Rides Committee member and leader, including several years spent expanding and managing the Cascade Training Series. As a board member, I have served on the finance, technology, governance, and executive committees, and have devoted myself tirelessly to the success of the club. Jane and I have recently started a fund raising campaign to expand the Basics of Bicycling program in our school district and are committed to continuing this work to reach all schools.
There are many external objectives that we must continue to work toward. Among those that I put as a priority are the Eastside Rail Corridor (42 mile bikeway from Renton to Snohomish), completion (finally) of the Burke-Gilman trail missing link, funding for the Montlake walking/cycling connections to new SR520, and support for and expansion of the greenways and safe cycling routes.
Cascade is perfectly positioned to increase its influence in the cycling cause and to meet the needs of an expanding membership. With a sound balance sheet, investments in future programs and growth, a plan and vision for a new club facility, and new executive director leadership, there are no limits to our potential. Please give me the opportunity to help lead the club to this future.
I’ve been on the Cascade board for nearly three years, the last two as the chair of the board. Why do I want to be reelected to the board? Because I want to continue creating more and safer riding opportunities for everyone who cycles or would like to cycle: commuters, recreational cyclists, those running errands, and anyone else wanting to use two wheels. The community needs safer and more bike routes, well maintained roads and trails, more alert, aware drivers, and more bicycles on the road. The club has proven its mettle in all these areas, and has the size and power to continue getting results as it strives to do more and more.
During my time on the board the club has increased riding opportunities. As just a sampling of its increased growth and reach, the club has dramatically grown its daily rides program, created two new event rides, helped local cities to pass safe streets laws and regulations, grown the Commute Challenge run in May, developed the BizCycle program to certify businesses that support bicycle commuting by employees, and created the Advocacy Leadership Institute to train new bicycle advocates.
The club is facing a huge transition with the passing of the baton from Chuck Ayers to Elizabeth Kiker. I’m very excited about the selection of Elizabeth Kiker as the club’s new Executive Director, and was on the search committee that hired her. Elizabeth will bring new ideas, methods, and insights to the club. My reelection will help bring stability to the board and club, serving a stable bridge between the old and the new.
I remain committed to advocacy that has the goal of changing the laws and culture to work for us, and not just for cars. For example, bicycle trails, completing the “Missing Link,” road diets, traffic signals that detect bikes, harsher penalties for Driving While Distracted, and the “Idaho rolling stop” all improve safety, and all require government action in the form of laws and budgets. The Cascade Bicycle Club must continue its leadership in advocacy, as well as its collaboration with other advocacy groups such as the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.
One of my pet projects at Cascade has been the complete renewal of its website and data technologies. By December you should be experiencing a modern website instead of the ancient system we have now.
I serve on the boards of both non-profit (I’m currently a board member at Climate Solutions and the Washington Environmental Council) and for-profit organizations. I understand governance, strategy, tactics, and group dynamics.
Follow and question me at http://www.WeiseForCBC.com.