On Tuesday night—despite the incessant, chilly rain—about seventy WABA members filled up the Eaton Room of All Souls Church to hear about the state of our organization. The annual meeting allows us to summarize what we’ve been working on, provides a forum for members to ask questions, and also serves as the election for WABA’s board of directors.
If you weren’t able to follow along on Twitter last night, here are some of the things we highlighted; below the jump, you can view the slideshow we presented:
- Our outreach has expanded to four specific programs this year: the bike ambassador program, suburban outreach, east of the river (now in its third year), and Women & Bicycles.
- Membership in general has increased.
- We’ve launched a business membership program.
- D.C. has become the fourth best bike city in the country; your membership supports our advocacy, which contributes to D.C.’s high ranking.
- We’ll be shifting our advocacy focus from bike lanes and sharrows in general to protected, Green Lane Project-style dedicated infrastructure specifically.
- For the first time since WABA’s inception in 1972, we have a full-time advocacy staffer that’s not the executive director.
- We’ve had a success rate of 75 percent in our adult learn-to-ride classes. We also offer confident city cycling classes and have in-school clinics for kids.
There were no objections to the nominated board members, and all were elected unanimously. Mark Blackell, Eric Fingerhut, and Philip Lyon were re-elected, and Bo Pham, Scott Barash, and Keya Chatterjee were elected to fill three vacated seats. Bios of all six are below the jump.
Many thanks to our members for coming out in last night’s horrible weather. We were thrilled to share what we’re working on and even more thrilled to see you pack the room. WABA is a member-based organization, and we couldn’t do our work without you. You’re our eyes and ears in our community, so continue to keep us informed of the changes you’d like to see.
Below the jump, board member bios and the meeting’s slideshow:
Board Member Profiles
SCOTT BARASH has lived in the U Street/Logan Circle area of DC since 1989 and is strongly committed to urban living. Bicycling is an essential part of his work and recreational life. He commutes on a single-speed, basket- and fender-equipped machine, using dedicated DC bike lanes each way, and is on his road bike nearly every weekend year-round, either in the DC area or the West Virginia mountains. He is thrilled at the expansion of biking in the DC metro area in recent years and believes it is essential to continue that trend, with more public and private sector support for cycling in all forms. Scott leads the Universal Service Administrative Company, which is the non-profit corporation that administers four federal programs designed to ensure access to affordable telecommunications services and broadband Internet access for all Americans, including those living in rural areas, schools, libraries, and low income consumers. His is a biking family – his wife also commutes by bike and regularly rides around town, and his five year old son is just learning how to handle a bike as well.
MARK BLACKNELL[*] has been a DC area resident and cyclist since moving to Arlington in 1997. Looking for options beyond sitting on the Roosevelt Bridge during rush hour, he soon bought a bike to ride to Foggy Bottom. Since then, he’s made the slow and steady progression over the years to cycling as his primary means of transportation (ending up with a house full of bikes in the process). Deciding to move beyond the personal evangelization of cycling and get more involved in advocating for improved infrastructure and conditions, he joined the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee (ABAC). Since then, he has worked with the ABAC to encourage Arlington County to promote a broad public agenda of facilitating safe cycling for everyone in Arlington. While personally a vehicular cyclist, he’s a supporter of bike facilities that accommodate all kinds of riders. Off the bike, he’s a DC lawyer whose practice focuses primarily on media and communications clients. When not representing clients, he pursues his interest in travel and photography. In a happy combination of everything, he regularly shoots pro cycling races for a variety of outlets.
KEYA CHATTERJEE is a commuter cyclist, a mother, and an advocate for the role of bicycles in solving society’s ills. Keya learned how to ride a bike as a child in Gaithersburg, MD. She currently lives with her husband and son in Southwest Washington, DC, and enjoys biking to destinations in DC, MD, and VA. By day, Keya is the Senior Director for International Climate Policy at the World Wildlife Fund. She has previously served as a Climate Change Specialist for the US Agency for International Development and also worked on communicating climate issues in her previous work at NASA. Keya started her career as a Presidential Management Fellow in the US government, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in a national park in Morocco from 1998 to 2000. Her commentary on climate change policy and sustainability issues has been quoted in dozens of media outlets including USA Today, the New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and NBC Nightly News. Keya is author of the book, The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Health Baby, which discusses the subject of bicycling while pregnant.
ERIC FINGERHUT[*] leads his law firm’s trademark practice by day but when he is not billing hours he is riding his bicycle. In addition to weekly road and mountain bike rides, Eric is a year-round commuter. Merging his passion and profession, last year Eric founded the International Cycling Law Association (ICLA), a non-profit providing low cost and free legal education to the bicycle industry, pro bono referrals for non-profits and startups and general business advice. Eric also is a fan of electric bicycles and sees them as an exciting opportunity for the industry to sell them as environmentally friendly alternatives to cars and motorcycles for short distance trips. He is thrilled to be part of WABA and looks forward to using his bicycle industry relationships to support WABA and its mission.
PHILIP LYON[*] is a public policy scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and has been an active WABA volunteer since 2007. He began bike commuting in graduate school and quickly discovered that travelling to work and back could be the best part of the day. Phil is also a recreational cyclist who takes at least one major bike trip per year in the Pacific Northwest and can often be found on the roads and trails around DC. As a DC native who used to hike along the old B&O railroad tracks before they became the Capital Crescent Trail, Phil has seen how bikes and forward thinking have improved life in DC. Having spent many years working and studying in Europe, Phil is also committed to smart growth, urban living, and walkable communities. He is a devoted resident of Capital Hill. “Dr. Phil,” as he is sometimes known, earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Maryland and holds an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS).
BO PHAM is a bike enthusiast and hoarder who specializes in “found parts” much like some artists focus on “found objects.” After years of tinkering with project bikes, he found a healthier outlet for this obsession through volunteering with organizations like The Bike House in DC and the Mount Rainier Bike Co-op to fix bikes for others. Bo is most excited when he’s able to introduce a new rider to the joys of cycling for sport or commuting. After a dozen years of volunteering and board work with other nonprofits in the DC area, he is ecstatic to join the WABA Board, where his passion for community building and cycling can merge. Bo and his wife Catherine Crum are lifetime WABA members and live in DC, where they are extremely proud of the progress in transportation infrastructure for bikes over the years. In his work life, Bo is a Branch Chief at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His work in Rockville, MD affords him the luxury of a 30-mile round trip commute by bike when he can. On weekends, he’s mostly a mountain biker who enjoys the numerous local trails in the area.
Candidates listed alphabetically. [*] indicates current WABA Board Member running for re-election.