2019 Candidate Statements

President nominations

Nic O’Neill

From the start I knew that if I committed myself to this, it would not be something that I could realistically finish in a single year. With so much history, and the changing landscape outside of the AKA it was imperative that a full multi-year plan be formulated before I threw my name in for the running. The first year was meant to be a year of learning, a year of understanding how the organization works. It was a time for fine tuning some aspects and generally ‘keeping the doors open and lights on’. Subsequent years would be years of building, change, and evolving. If re-elected this coming year I intend to start pushing forward with the necessary changes to bring this organization up to speed.

 

Over the past year I have been finishing up the necessary cleanup work, expanding outreach online, revamping the website and unveiling new features, and taking the AKA into areas that it traditionally has not had a presence in.

 

Going forward my intention is to bring the AKA more in line with other non-profit organizations. Take it from being a ‘club’ and move it into being an organization that people can stand by. An organization that pushes for change and acts as an ‘advocate for kite flying’. It is time for the AKA to evolve into something that people outside of our community want to support. I intend to pursue grant funding for our educational programs, increase our outreach, revamp and revitalize our sport kite community, and bring more focus to our members

 

Phillip Whitaker

It was ten years ago when my involvement with kiting began. It was a windless day in September, I remember it well. Everyone in Enid, Oklahoma were on a field attempting to break the world’s record for the most kites in the air at the same time. I could see ‘big’ kites flying in the distance. I walked over and found some of the nicest people I have ever met. These people, became my people.

As President, I will focus on our people (our membership) while establishing ways to connect with people around us. The AKA mission is to educate the public in the art, history, technology and practice of building and flying kites and advance the joys and values of kiting in all nations. By living out our mission statement, opportunities can be created for people to connect with us as an Association.

My current leadership includes a second year term as Vice-President #1; focusing on the National Convention and Annual Meeting.  I Chair a committee of six members who advise, direct and support how and where Convention is held. I also am the Regional Director of Region 8. Over the past year, I have been able to expand communication lines while sustaining renewals and positive growth of the Region’s membership.

As an accountant, I understand the need to maintain a balanced budget and set long term financial goals, while creating new and exciting programming for members and potential members of our Association. I will continue to strengthen our financial foundation.

I ask for your vote.

 

Region 3

Will Smoot

Although I have flown kites for as long as I can remember I discovered sport kites in the early 80’s when I purchased a couple of Peter Powel plastic diamonds on a Beach trip.  In the mid-80s I discovered organized kite activities when I was introduced to WOW and RAF at the Smithsonian Kite Festival.

I started competing with dual line kites shortly after that becoming the King of DQ in my first or second season.  Eventually I was able to actually fly the required figures and placed in NIP at ODSKC. I have attended events from Treasure Island, FL in the South to Newport, RI in the North.  I have attended National Conventions in Ocean City, Md (three times), Dayton, OH, Seaside, OR, Gettysburg, PA, Rochester MN and Wildwood, NJ and as Chair for Outer Banks, NC. I have also served two terms as the Regional Director for Region 3 of the AKA, and as a Director-at-Large.  I was most recently the Chief Judge for the 40th AKA Grand Nationals at Ocean City in 2017.

In the mid 1990’s I filled in for one half of a Pair with Laura Stonestreet when her husband was injured, and the following season we created a new pair called Wingnuts.  We flew at many of the conventions listed above and placed many times. Eventually we started flying team with varying other fliers and also placed at conventions, as well as having one group make the cover of Kiting Magazine at the Liberty State Park event near New York City.

I currently compete in dual-line Precision and ballet as an individual.  Wingnuts pair, and Team Wingnuts may no longer fly but I learned a great deal as a member.  I also have acted as Chief Judge for several events and have been a Head Judge and Chief Judge at Nationals, as well as an indoor judge.

In addition to sport kite competition I have learned to sew and made a few kites and banners as a result.  I have also been the event announcer beginning with Tricks Party in Richmond and moving on to other events including sharing the duties with the late Terry Murray at Ocean City, MD, Salem, VA, Norfolk, VA, Outer Banks, Winchester, VA, Beech Mountain, NC, Treasure Island, FL and even the Air and Space Indoor and Blossom Festivals in DC and now operate Kitebus Festivals and provide sound and announcing up and down the East Coast.

 

Region 6

Anthony Catalano

Hello! My name is Anthony Catalano and I from Illinois. I have had the pleasure of being a member of the AKA for two years.  Even though I am still a relatively new member, I feel that I can fulfill the position of Regional Director. Over the past two years I become a member with both Chicago Kite and the Wisconsin Kiters.  Being geographically located in the center of Region 6, my goal is to reach as many kite festivals humanly possible. This will allow me to share not only the awesome festivals that are put together but show everyone the hard work Region 6 produces.  Your vote will allow me to do just that and more! For me Kiting has become part of my life and I want to share this enjoyable hobby with others.

 

Region 7

 

Sherman Myers

 

Let me introduce myself. I first flew kites as a child when my father and I made newspaper and flour-paste eddy kites. Forty years later, I saw stunt kites flying at Liberty State Park in New Jersey and they fascinated me. Not long thereafter, I found a kite shop where I purchase my first kite. The first few times I tried to fly that kite were a disaster. The challenge to fly without crashing (too often) hooked me. A few months later, I joined the AKA and have been a member for 28 years. I support the AKA because it supports all aspects of kiting: flying, making, competing, show kites, fighter kites, sport kites, single line kites. When I fly a kite, it is just me, the wind, and the kite; other thoughts and worries disappear. That keeps me flying kites.

I was appointed when there were no candidates for Region 7 Director in the last AKA election. Someone at the convention in Ocean City, Maryland noticed that I was in Region 7 and suggested that I consider an appointment for a one-year term. After several days of questioning the wisdom of the appointment and with the encouragement of my wife, I volunteered and here I am.

Now, I’ll tell you why I am running to fill the remaining two-year term of Region 7 director. Kitefliers are my tribe and we have a common interest. I want to support and share our pastime. I want to represent your interests and support all kiting activities. I will always take time to listen to you and represent you.

I live in Alpine, Utah and am a retired CPA. I have experience working with not-for-profit organizations, including being treasurer of a similar organization.

 

Region  9

Brett Morris

With your support, I hope to continue as your AKA Region 9 Director covering Idaho, Montana and Oregon.  The past 5 years as your Region 9 Director has been exciting and educational.  I have learned a great deal about AKA and have met many new people with the same passion for kiting.  With your vote, I will continue to support and promote kiting. I will keep in contact with members through: monthly emailed updates, at Festivals, Kiting Magazine and represent you as your AKA Region 9 Director at AKA Board Meetings and when possible the AKA National Convention. 

I started flying kites when my wife, Diane, and I vacationed in Lincoln City with our children. In 2007, we happened to be in Lincoln City during their summer kite festival.  I watched Lam Hoac and John Barresi perform tricks I never thought possible with a kite, and was hooked.  We joined the local kite club, Rogue Valley Windchasers, later that year.   I have been learning dual slack line tricks and how to “Own Your Hover” with a Revolution quad line kite ever since.  I have performed as a featured flyer at many festivals.   I also fly as a dual line duo team called Rogue Slackers. We have performed the last five years at the Southern Oregon Kite Festival in Brookings, Oregon. 

I was born and raised in Medford, Oregon and still live in Medford today.  My background is in real estate finance and retired after 30 years in the local banking industry. Since I retired, Diane and I have been going to as many kiting events as we can. We love to travel and spread the joy of kiting everywhere we go.

Thank you for your support,

Brett Morris

2013 – 2018 AKA Region 9 Director

2014 – 2017 AKA 2nd Vice President

 

Region 10

Andrew Cimburek

 

Region 11

Darril dela Torre

To my fellow Region 11 AKA members

My name is Darril dela Torre and I am running to be the AKA Region11 Director.  Involved in kiting for about 30 years and an AKA member for 25, I have volunteered for many years at the Berkeley Kite Festival, attended several AKA Conventions, volunteered at other kite events around the bay area such as at The Presidio Family event.  It has been a great pleasure to meet so many members of the kiting community

As a retiree, I have both the time and background to serve the Association.  I spent 40 years as owner’s representative for both corporate and institutional design and construction projects.  The last 15 years as a project manager of the University of California. With projects ranging from small dollar maintenance and repair to major capital projects up to $20M, I am fully aware of the need to meet budgets, schedules, work collaboratively and respectfully with others to be successful.  

As a Director, my goal would be to, not only solicit, but to pay attention to issues that members believe are important to their kiting activities and to the long-range health of the Association.  Any proposal by or action taken by the Board should always consider four questions. How does it improve the value of membership? How does it contribute to the financial stability and sustainability of the Association?  Is the action the best use of AKA resources? How does it enhance both the retention of current members and assist in attracting new members? I look forward to being an active Director of the AKA and respectfully ask for your vote and support.

 

Region 12

Glen Rothstein

My name is Glen Rothstein and I am again, running for Director of our beloved AKA’s Region #12. I have been an avid kite flier for 29 years. I went behind the scenes of kiting in 1995 and I still enjoy working behind that curtain (or sail), if you will.

I became a Regional Director in 2001 and then took some time away. Balance is important; however, I truly enjoy being your “RD”.

Our association continues to change, along with the rest of the world. A constant that I work hard at is reminding everyone to continue to fly and share. We still have some of the best winds and spaces to fly in, including indoors. My vision is to continue assisting in making your flying experiences, as pleasant as possible, as well as sharing with those who are currently unaware of what we enjoy.  

Your consideration of me for this position is greatly appreciated.

 

Region 13

Gary Mark

Greetings to fellow AKA members overseas and abroad.  My name is Gary Mark and I am your candidate for Region 13 Director representative for the upcoming triennial term.  I am a former two term AKA Director at Large and am presently the President of the Toronto Kite Fliers (Canada’s oldest kite club) and founder of the Canadian Kite Federation.  Since 1991, I have been travelling internationally for kite festivals and have had a passion for kites for over 30 years.  Throughout my travels, I am pleased to have made personal acquaintance with many of you. I would be pleased to be your choice for representative to keep one of the largest membership regions informed and engaged and proud of their kite flying heritage worldwide.  Region 13 will be well served by my candidacy and I appreciate your support in ensuring the international kiting community remains a vital constituency for AKA activities. I would like to acknowledge the fine accomplishments of retiring Region 13 Director Linda Sanders who has been working for over decade to promote kiting and support AKA members.  Thank you!

 

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