Monday, November 30, 2009


November 30, 2009

Restructuring to our Strengths
ACA Announces New Leadership

The Board of Directors of the American Canoe Association has appointed Chief Financial Officer, Wade Blackwood, as the fifth Executive Director of the ACA.

Founded in 1880, the ACA is a member-based nonprofit organization that promotes fun and responsible canoeing, kayaking, and rafting. The ACA actively advocates paddlesports education as well as recreational access to and stewardship of America’s vast water trails. ACA is also dedicated to providing people of all abilities the opportunity to paddle on America’s waterways. Under Blackwood’s leadership and with the support of regional and local volunteers, the entire ACA national staff will continue to diligently represent the interests of over 50 million people in the U.S. who kayak, canoe and raft annually.

Blackwood is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras and earned an MBA from William and Mary’s Mason School of Business.

“These are challenging times for nonprofit organizations and we are excited to have someone with such a strong financial background as Wade Blackwood step in as acting Executive Director. Wade and the ACA team are eager to continue the 130 year ACA tradition of making the world a better place to paddle." – Board President, Dr. Kirk Havens

In addition, long time ACA volunteer, life member, instructor trainer educator, and current staff member Christopher Stec has been named as the ACA’s Chief Operating Officer. Stec joins senior staff Paul Sanford, General Counsel and Director of Stewardship and Public Policy; Melissa Upp, Director of Information Technology; Anne Vetterlein, Membership Director; and Jeremy Oyen, Director of Safety Education and Instruction.

“We have dedicated, passionate and talented employees, volunteers, and members who all have something valuable to offer, and I intend to harness their passion into products and services that will help make the world a better place to paddle. As the ACA’s Executive Director, I will ensure that in the midst of this challenging economic climate we will seek creative opportunities to sustainably grow the organization.”

To learn more about how the ACA makes a positive impact on paddlesports education, stewardship, recreation and competition across the country, please visit:

Contact Information:
Wade Blackwood
Executive Director
American Canoe Association
1340 Central Park Blvd. Suite 210
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

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